9 Signs You Work in a Great Team

12 May 2017

"It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behaviour is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction."
Warren Buffet

It’s no secret that the key to success lies in the team we have behind us. Surrounding yourself with people who have the same ambitions and values that you do, is critical to your career performance and the speed at which you will reach your goals.

Here are 9 signs that you work in a great team. Which resonate with you?

1. They pass the ball
You were hired to do a job, not to be micro-managed. Your team leader delegates responsibility with panache and your team trusts that you’re capable of delivering. No-one should be constantly breathing down your neck for results or micromanaging you into a mini version of themselves.

2. They sweep the sheds
As far as great teams go, it doesn’t get much better than the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. With a 75% win rate over the last 100 games played to date, they are statistically one of the most successful sports teams in history. Yet at the height of their success during their 2011 World Cup winning season, they would routinely sweep the mud from shed floors after matches as an exercise in humility.
When even the most successful members of your team are grounded enough to do the tedious tasks and respect the work completed at all levels, the whole team rises to new heights.

3. They follow the spearhead
For spears to work, all force must be applied in the same direction. A team cannot complete its collective target if each member only focusses on their own goal. Hearing ‘we’ and ‘us’ more often than ‘I’ and ‘me’ means your team are all in this together.

4. They celebrate failure
Just because you failed doesn’t mean you didn’t strive. It doesn’t mean you didn’t slog your guts out or give it your all. Failure should be acknowledged. Failure makes us learn. Failure helps us grow.

5. They go for the gap
As soon as your team reaches the top of their game, they change the game. Your team aren’t just happy to be the best, they are continually looking for innovative ways to better themselves. They know that if they stand still everyone will pass them by.

6. They ritualise
Your team is built on your shared attitudes and experiences. It represents who you are, which is why it works for them. Your culture is based on your collective values.

7. They take the rap
When a mistake is outside of their control they get over it. When it’s their fault, they take responsibility. Everyone does this and at every management level, especially at the top.

8. They don't listen to understand, they listen to reply
Toxic people confuse being able to hear with being able to listen. A good team takes the time to understand each other’s points of view and to learn from them. Team members that only let you say your piece just so they can respond with why their opinion or decision is right every time, are unproductive and detrimental to team performance.

9. They are heard not ‘seen’
A good team doesn’t care about everyone being ‘seen’ to be working. A good team has trust for each other when they are in and out of sight. They don’t care if you take a 10-minute lunch break or a 45 minute one, or if you don’t stay in the office until 9pm every day. They trust in the quality of each other’s work and not what everyone is ‘seen’ to be doing for the sake of looking good in front of the boss.

Each team is an entity with its own dynamics, qualities and conventions. The differences are what make a great team pull off better work together efficiently. Communication is the cement of a team. Without which, none of the other points will work. If your team are exhibiting many of the points mentioned above, harness it to grow your skills and your career. If what we've just discussed is not evidentwhere you are, it may be time to take the plunge and grow your career elsewhere.

What team bonding issues have you experienced and how did you overcome them?

Oscar Sheridan, International Patient and Critical Care Specialist