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What does the team need? What is the secret to successfull teams?

Aristotle project

In this article, you’ll learn, among other things, what Google discovered after a two-year study of 180 teams. This technology giant is famous for research conducted among its employees. This time Google looked closer at the behavior of successful teams.

The aim of the project was to answer the question “What makes a team effective?”

Despite the advancement of research and analysis of thousands of data, no clear pattern emerged. Teams turned out to value various things.
Researchers were then interested in exploring the concept of group norms. Norms are behavioral standards and unwritten normative principles are how we behave when we are together. Although unspoken they have a very significant impact on us. After analyzing data from over a hundred groups, researchers found that understanding and influencing group norms was the key to team development.
The most important need of the team turned out to be psychological safety, known in the research of Amy Edmondson, professor at Harvard Business School and defined as “common belief of team members that it is safe to take interpersonal risk in the team. “Psychological safety” is a feeling of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking. ”
In the case of the Aristotle project, specific standards were important for team success.

Charles Duhigg sums it up in an article in the New York Times “The Aristotle project reminds that when companies try to optimize everything, it is sometimes easy to forget that success is often based on experiences – such as emotional interactions and complicated conversations and discussions about it, who we want to be and how other people from the team affect our well-being and this can not really be optimized. ”

The research results

Psychological safety: how much team members are willing to take the risk of sharing a new idea or problem with the team. This is essentially the ability of team members to trust other team members.
Reliability: Members can rely on each other to perform the required tasks
Structure and clarity: everyone in the team has a specific role, understands their long-term and short-term goals, and sees how they contribute to the overall goals of the team
Meaning: self-realization and sense of accomplishment resulting from the team’s achievements
Impact: Team members feel the impact of their actions.

Psychological safety was defined as the foundation for teamwork. As obvious as it may appear this is quite oftne not the reality. And unfortunately the lack of trust is what bothers the teams. If we add to this refraining from sharing ideas for fear of criticism or for our opinions for fear of conflict, then we have symptoms of dysfunction. These two dysfunctions, lack of trust and fear of conflict were described by Patrick Lencioni in the book “Five dysfunctions of teamwork”.

Leader’s reflection

I will leave some questions for the leader to reflect upon at the end:

  • Do you know how motivated individual team members are?
  • What does trust capital look like in a team?
  • Does the team have norms worked out together and know how they sound?
  • Do we use team differences and individual talents?
  • Do we improve every day and who is responsible for it?

What other things do you think are worth paying attention to when we want our team to succeed?

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