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10 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams

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Most members of high-performing teams report that it's fun and satisfying to work on collaborative teams because they are asked to contribute at their highest potential and they learn a lot along the way. Characteristics of high-performing teams include the following:

  • People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose -- they feel free to express feelings and ideas.
  • Everybody is working toward the same goals.
  • Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks.
  • Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected.
  • Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
  • The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute -- even the introverts.
  • Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed. Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles.
  • The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement -- in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor, after which little second-guessing occurs.
  • Each team member carries his or her own weight and respects the team processes and other members.
  • The leadership of the team shifts from time to time, as appropriate, to drive results. No individual members are more important than the team.

A team charter paves the way for collaborative success by providing clarity that builds trust and accountability. With a team charter in place, you'll be able to unlock the potential value of your people by empowering them to contribute. In the long run, teams with a clear purpose and good chemistry drive business results. Job satisfaction goes up, employees stay engaged in their work and everybody wins.

Excerpted from The Collaboration Imperative by Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese. Published by Cisco Systems.