“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Rather than a single thread, there is a tapestry of qualities that characterize all thriving teams. Fully functioning groups and thriving teams possess many characteristics. Here are 15 characteristics to consider:

1.  Mission Focused.  There is enormous power in a sense of mission.  The task and objective of the team is well understood and acknowledged by all.

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” – W. Clement Stone

2.  Collaboration. Time is allowed for collaboration in which everyone is encouraged to participate, and collaboration remains pertinent to the task of the team. The characteristic most needed among teams amid the pressure of difficulty  is collaboration.

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

3.  Active Listening. Team members listen to each other. People show respect for one another by listening when others are talking. Every idea is given a hearing.

“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” – Simon Sinek

4.  Values-Driven. The values form the basis for the team, which are derived from team beliefs and convictions. These shared values are the core beliefs that guide the behavior of the team – they are actively used to make decisions. There is agreement on core values and operating norms of behavior that determine the conduct of the team.

“Those who develop a sense of their values before they get into crisis are better prepared to keep their bearings and navigate the difficult decisions and dilemmas when the pressure mounts.” – Bill George

5.  Trust & Openness. An environment of trust and openness is the foundation for thriving teams. Team members feel free to express ideas and feelings, both on the issues and the team dynamic/operation. People aren’t timid or afraid to suggest different or new ideas.

“The glue that holds all relationships together- including the relationship between the leader and the led – is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” – Brian Tracy

6.  Constructive Disagreement Is Issue-Oriented, Never PersonalDisagreement is not stifled and ignored. Constructive criticism is openly given and accepted in the team. Conflict and differences are accepted for the price of creativity. Criticism is constructive and pointed toward solving problems and achieving the mission.

“Debate, discussion, disagreements, and dialogue are the lifeblood of vibrant and adaptive organizations.” – Michael Feiner

7.  Effective Self-Leadership. Each team member passionately and effectively leads, regardless of title or role. Leadership is not a position or rank. Leadership is a decision. Leadership is a choice.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

8.  Prepared & Clear On Plan Of Action. The team is prepared and aligns on the appropriate plan of action. Expectations are clear and each individual knows their role and responsibilities.

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” – Henry Ford

9.  Steadfast Commitment. People are committed to achieving the goals of the team, regardless of human emotion, adversity or whatever circumstance presents it.

“Ordinary people with commitment can make an extraordinary impact on the world.” – John Maxwell

10.  Leverage Strengths. Gallup, the data-based news and research company, suggests that focusing on your teams strengths can be the impetus for successful outcomes.

“Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us.” – Marcus Buckingham

11.  Give Credit And Appreciation. Fostering a positive working culture means recognizing performance. Be specific about your praise. It will go a long way.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire

12.  Fun & Humor. The atmosphere should be fun, relaxing and comfortable. Fostering this type of atmosphere allows everyone to be involved and interested.

“Laughter is an igniter of great expectations.” – Dr. Norman Cousins

13.  Incurable Learners. Perpetual learning is the foundation of healthy, thriving, teams. Asking questions like, “What are my/our potential learning moments today?” When teams are focused on learning something every day, they are better prepared for adversity and challenges.

“Learn as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die tomorrow.” – Anonymous

14.  Adapt & Embrace Change. Accept and engage change efforts that improve results. Embrace and adapt to innovative and fresh creative approaches to getting things done and bring about an exceptional customer experience.

“Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” – Max McKeown

15.  Challenge The Status Quo. The constant looking for ways to radically alter the status quo, for ways to create something totally new, for revolutionary new processes, for ways to maximize systems and ways of doing business.

“Leadership is getting people to look beyond their own job description for ways to improve and challenge the process.” – Maureen Fries

How are you doing these days when it comes to leading and/or contributing to your team dynamic?

We are either making deposits into the team ethos, or making withdrawals. How are you going to deposit value today into your team’s culture? These were a few of the many characteristics that are indicators of healthy, thriving teams.

What are others that you would add?

This was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.


2 thoughts on “15 Characteristics of a Thriving Team

  1. Kevin says:

    Great article!

    Loved point 6. If people can sit and embrace constuctive analysis of an operation without taking offense, your team is well on its way to overcome mission obstacles!!

  2. Kevin says:

    Great article!

    Loved point 6. If people can sit and embrace constuctive analysis of an operation without taking offense, your team is well on its way to overcome mission obstacles!!

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