Much has been said and written about successful teamwork by people much smarter than I - so I won’t beat a dead horse too much. The three to seven person team-unit has been considered as the preeminent problem-solving instrument for organizations for decades by management “experts,” but has existed in nature for thousands of years. It’s no wonder that most predators hunt in packs; it’s a natural way to solve complex tasks.
It’s tough to list all the ingredients that make a well-functioning team. But there are a few things that will definitely decrease chances of real team-based success:
- Arrogance. If even one member feels that he is generally superior to the rest, cracks will quickly appear. There will always be experts, but arrogance is a deadly state of mind and not a matter of actual experience.
- Ignorance. If there is not a minimal level of mutual understanding then the team will not excel. Being able to put oneself in the shoes of another (for even an instant) miraculously boosts results.
- Selfishness. The most obvious team-based malady, selfishness can never be hidden or even masked. It’s also highly contagious.
There are definitely more issues that can hinder teams, but these three are on the top of my mind.