7 Qualities of Effective Teams

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It is easy to identify effective teams. Those teams meet their deadlines, produce quality results and most importantly, deliver on the mission and purpose of the team.

What’s tricky to identify is how the team was so effective. Simply having smart, high-performing individuals on the team won’t cut it.

Below, we’ve identified the 7 qualities that make effective teams.

1. Clear Purpose

Whether the team was assembled for a short-term project or multi-year endeavor, it’s important that everyone understands why a team assembled in the first place. Whether it’s exploring solutions to existing challenges or planning alternatives for future ones, when everyone understands the mission, keeping in alignment is definitely possible. An unclear plan or poorly defined measurable/goals makes success nearly impossible.

Quick Check: Ask each member what the purpose of the team is, do they all have the same answer?

2. Measurement for Success

Objectives that are SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, reasonable, and time-based) can serve as milestones for your team and make it clear when you’ve finished. Is it creating a plan, delivering results, or implementing a new process? You want everyone on the team working towards the same goals so that everyone knows what it takes to “win.”

Quick Check: Does your team have the same definition of success?

3. Set Deadline

As part of defining success, knowing the timeframe in which your team needs to win is important. Mission critical projects are often driven by executive goals and deadlines. Your project could impact a company goal or could even impact shareholders if delivery dates are not met.

Quick Check: How are we doing on time and milestones? Could any challenges prevent us from hitting our delivery dates?

4. Variety of Skills

People have unique capabilities, backgrounds and skills that make them valuable in a group setting. Take a minute to recognize where people are strong and how their involvement in the group is important. You want a mix of skills and personalities that include; creativity, flexibility, positivity, openness, and respect.

Quick Check: Are there a diverse set of skills on your team or is it full of like-minded individuals with similar skill sets?

5. Transparent Budget

If your team was given a budget or tasked to create and stay within that budget, make sure the team knows about it. If various methods for achieving the goals are outlined, it’s important to know how those methods will impact the budget and whether the outcome is worth the expense.

Quick Check: How are budget decisions made in your team?

6. Expectations of Time

If your team will have other responsibilities outside of meeting the goals of the team, it’s best to outline what people can expect. Is it an hour a day or several days per week? If someone can’t commit to the requirements of the group, you’ll have to decide whether or not they should still be a part of the team and how you can manage the gap if not.

Quick Check: If individuals are repeatedly missing deadlines and shirking responsibilities, are they still a valuable member of the team?

7. Discernible Roles and Responsibilities

With everyone’s unique skills, it’s important to outline the role that they’ll be expecting to play within the larger group. If someone is meant to provide ideas while someone else is meant to execute on them, save yourself a lot of friction in the future by communicating that in the beginning. If multiple people are off developing their own solutions when only one person needed to, the team has now wasted a lot of time and loses effectiveness.

Quick Check: Does everyone know their role and are they satisfied with the part they’ve been assigned?

Ensuring these 7 qualities are in place with your team will help make it more effective. In what ways have you managed an effective team?

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