Much research has been done on the topic of team effectiveness and most of the suggestions are valuable. Google has a list of five key elements they consider essential for improving team effectiveness. They are:
1. Psychological safety
3. Structure and Clarity
There is an accepted wisdom in organizational psychology that says: what matters most is how a team works together and less about who is on the team. Managers who focus on implementing key elements one and three really benefit from having an effective team.
Psychological safety is when team members feel safe and confident to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other. When team members feel safe, they are able to performÂ their best, since they are not afraid of being judged. The best ideas and work comes from trial and error. It is not possible to predict outcomes, and so if team members are willing to try and take risks the best will happen. Additionally, when team members feel safe, they are comfortable to question and poke holes into their teammates assumptions and ideas. When that occurs the ideas are further developed until they have a good chance of succeeding. And if after the process, some ideas do not have a good chance of succeeding, those ideas are dropped. Obviously, there are no guarantees about which ideas will succeed but better worked out ones stand a better chance than those less worked out.
Structure and clarity is when team members have clearly defined roles and understand them. The right team member is in the right role based on their personality, skills and experience. Additionally, team members have a clear strategy and goals to achieve the overall organizational mission. And the reason it is so important to have a clear strategy and goals and why it works is as follows: team members must understand what the organization is trying to accomplish in order to align their work and efforts to the overall mission. Team members must have a strategy of how they are going to, in their own way, help achieve the organization's mission. And the specifics details of how they will get the strategy done: the what they will get done, the when they will get it done and the how they will measure whether they were successful. Unless team members are very clear on all the aspects of: mission, strategy and goals it makes it very challenging for them to achieve the desired organizational results.
A well known framework that many technology companies use to ensure the strategy is achieved is called objectives and key results. The basic idea is to have an objective and at least three ways in which the objectives can be measured. So that at the end of the desired time frame for achieving the objective team members can very clearly, back and white, know and say whether the objective was successful or not.
Having an effective team is the difference between high performing organizations and not high performing organizations. Managers who take the time to focus on team effectiveness benefit greatly and ensure organizational growth.