Have you ever stopped to really think about what makes a great team and how that can help you win the job?
By the time you graduate, you will already have some experience of working as part of a team and your experience is likely to be questioned at any job interview you get. But have you ever stopped to think about the factors behind what makes a great team?
The reason organisations place such heavy emphasis on your teamwork skills is that teams are at the heart of every successful organisation. The best companies are made up of great teams. If you think about today’s workplace, everyone is working in some form of a team, whether it’s a team of two or ten, or whether you’re in sales, engineering or finance. An organisation thrives when teamwork is at its best.
Understanding this will not only help you to sound authentic when it comes to answering interview questions about your teamwork skills but can also swing the decision in your favour and land you the job.
Here are the 5 characteristics all great teams share.
A great team is clear on why it exists
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, but that’s only the case if both are thinking toward the same ends. A team that isn’t working well can end up sabotaging the very goals it was formed to meet in the first place.
So, a great team will be clear on why it exists. Each member of the team can only work together to fulfil the team’s intended role when they understand the reason for it existing. Get clarity on the goal or mission of your team, and on your role within that.
You must keep this purpose in mind throughout the life of the team and protect it from distractions. That way you will do the right things.
A great team understands the power of the team
The purpose of creating teams is to provide a framework that will increase the ability of employees to participate in planning, problem-solving and decision making. It makes you much more effective.
Whether the task is to implement a new system or create an innovative service, merging individual skills and talents into one best-performing whole is what an ideal team can achieve.
With the skills and knowledge of the individuals that make it up combined the team achieves far more with less energy. Team members will get this.
To anchor this thought further, consider one of the greatest coaches in NBA history who said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
A great team is sacrificial
Building a successful team can be tough and challenging because people bring everything about who they are to the team. This can work against the team’s success unless individuals are willing to sacrifice their personal interests for the team’s.
The best teamwork is a group of people working together for the greater good of the team – meaning, that each person is willing to forgo their own ego, and to make decisions that are truly in the best interest of the team vs their own best interest.
Self-sacrifice requires a heightened awareness of self and others. Understanding this will enable you to achieve more and reduce the opportunity for misunderstandings and cross-purposes.
- A great team must understand its members
We’ve said that the best companies are made up of great teams, but, as research by Google has discovered, a company full of A-players won’t succeed if those individuals don’t have the ability to work well together.
So, what makes a great team great is how that team works together and that comes down to knowing the people on your team.
The most critical factor in getting to know your team members is communication and trust. Communication helps you to build better and more rewarding relationships between team members.
And ‘trust’ must be built around respect for how others think and feel. That’s why it’s important to listen – again, crucial to good communication. Listening must be done with the intention to truly understand your fellow team members’ perspectives, strengths and weaknesses.
A great team is self-sustaining
Everything needs energy in order to remain strong and survive and great teams are no different. Members can do this by engaging in actions that empower the team itself, and that means the team will be sustained from within.
Let’s take the example of building trust. One of the quickest ways to gain someone’s trust is to help that person. A team with a culture of supporting each other is more likely to be successful and to achieve its goals because people feel valued.
Similarly, motivation, which can help the team get through tough times and to stay on task, can be built from within if members have a practice of sincerely and specifically celebrating each other’s personal victories.
Again, trust is strengthened via authenticity, and authenticity via acting on what you say. It means saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and sticking to your values and principles above all else.
And, finally, how can mastering these 5 characteristics of a great team help you to win the job? Simple. Because great teams are made up of great team-players.