Dream teams are often a fantasy collection of all the talents with the assumption that individual talents will lead to team success. But individual talent is actually a poor predictor for team success. Teams with the most individually gifted members often end up less, or only equal to the sum of their parts. It takes more than talent to transcend the limitations of individuality, as all great teams are exponentially more than a collection of individuals. Here are some quick observations on great team characteristics:
Attitude. Collectively the team has an attitude of constant progress, no matter how good we are, we remain work in progress and continue to strive and pay attention to a process of chasing excellence. They are careful to preserve positive energy and emotion as the fuel for high performance.
Bonded. Individuals have deep bonds with one another. These relationships are not necessarily about friendship at all. Part trust, part respect but mainly the patience to build connections with others, even those we neither instinctively like nor understand.
Led. Great teams have leadership diffused through their whole membership. Team members lead themselves with the self-discipline to maintain standards, pursue excellence and hold each other accountable. Task leaders perform a service and constantly tend to the needs of the team and its members. What are we going to do, how are going to do it, what support do we need, are we on track? Ego and authority are checked as contaminates that hold leaders and the team back.
Learning. Progress is always about what and how we learn. Great teams learn quicker and more deliberately than others. They pay attention to key behaviours and processes that drive their results. Individuals have the curiosity and humility to seek out feedback and the courage to both speak and hear the ‘truth’.
In summary great teams deliberately build strong bonds and a collective positively charged and ambitious attitude. They are constantly learning at pace and value leadership at every level.