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Great teams are founded on strong psychological safety and inclusion of all its team members. Team members know each other well both professionally and personally. They have a good understanding of each others’ strengths, challenges, fears and vision. Members don’t hold back their ideas and information. In team meetings, people embrace hard truths and don’t conceal own errors and mistakes. They are able to leverage old relationships and make new people welcome, fast.
Great teams are built on a common purpose that makes being in the team worthwhile and meaningful. A great purpose provides a framework for how each team member contributes to something bigger. A great vision stretches and challenges the team to consider new ways of working and to innovate. It provides an external reference point to assess the overall progress of the team. When we dedicate our efforts to customers and society, it makes many of the behaviors in a growth team possible. A powerful vision and purpose is crucial to creating the kind of humble striving for excellence that makes great possible. Curiosity, effort and collaboration are all higher in teams with a great vision.
In Great teams, decision-making and problem-solving are characterised by involvement and collaboration. The team strives for consensus whenever possible. Problem-solving encourages quieter and more reflective team members to contribute in ways they are comfortable doing so that more vocal and action-oriented team members do not dominate. Great teams are good at surfacing assumptions and challenging existing ways of doing things. Both proven ideas and new ideas are valued equally. They listen to experience but don’t hesitate to experiment.
Work is always serious, but Great teams are characterised by creativity, playfulness, fun and humor. Teams that show agility in the face of expected events and a need for change have humor. Humor and playfullness make it easier to let go of the past and embrace the future. They reduce anxiety and fear about uncertainty and risks. They encourage innovation. We can forgive ourselves and each other more efficiently when we can laugh in our team. Humor in a team reduces the fear of failure and more importantly the fear of ridicule from our team mates.
In Great teams, members have the ability to challenge contructively, listen and take action on feedback, hold each other accountable for peformance and behavior, and feel a strong commitment to each other – they won’t and don’t let each other down. They nudge teammembers to be the best they can be in their own areas of responsibility and inspire each other to excel. People leave team meetings feeling like they can and will do something greater than before. Great teams keep big egos in check, challenge complacency and status quo, and ask cynics and pessimists for solutions. What’s said during team meetings is the same as what is shared privately. No gossip or back-stabbing here.
The secret to growth and change is positive energy. When people are most stretched or disappointed, it’s the support and encouragementof colleagues that picks them back up. A problem shared with others, is a problem halved. Shit teams use humiliation and internal competition to drive higher performance. In Growth teams, people strive for and share success. When team members celebrate each other’s wins, you have a great team. People look forward to spending time with a growth team. They are energised and inspired after team meetings. Team members help each other, even when they don’t have time. They listen carefully to each other and don’t waste each other’s time. Solving complex problems requires emotional involvement and trust. Great teams display empathy and care.
Now, it’s time to assess your team mindset. Do you have a Great or a Shit team?
From Shit2Great in your leadership team. What does growthmindset look like in action in a team. Here are my thoughts.
- Psychological safety & Inclusion
- Vision and Purpose
- Involvement & collaboration
- Creativity & Playfulness
- Challenge and accountability
- Encouragement and Care
Next month, we are releasing our new Team Mindset assessment tool and development package. This article sets out the main principles for a Great Team with a growth mindset.
Author of Safe2Great, keynote speaker on psychological safety and growth mindset