What makes a good team? – 10 Characteristics of Successful Teams

Have you ever been on a team that just didn’t seem to be… working?

Sure, you put in the work, showing up for practice or nettings, completing projects or playing games, but things just can’t seem to fall into place… its frustrating.

I was on teams in college full of bright, talented ladies that, for the life of us, couldn’t win games. We’d fall short, fall flat… one time, I actually fell into the stands (ok, I dove for a ball and my momentum just happened to be in the direction of the seats).

It was frustrating, to say the very least. I hate losing. Like, with a white-hot, fiery passion I hate it. But, even more, I hate when things don’t *feel* right, aren’t jiving… like, if we’re gonna lose, let’s at least go out with our boots on. Let’s not lose like losers.

And hindsight is 20/20, so we could talk til the cows come home about what went wrong, but I’d rather talk about what successful teams do right.

Here are ten characteristics of well-functioning teams:

  • Purpose: Members proudly share a sense of why the team exists and are invested in accomplishing its mission and goals.
  • Priorities: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to achieve team goals.
  • Roles: Members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow a more skillful member to do a certain task.
  • Decisions: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood.
  • Conflict: is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-making and personal growth.
  • Personal traits: members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized.
  • Norms: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for every one in the groups.
  • Effectiveness: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together.
  • Success: Members know clearly when the team has met with success and share in this equally and proudly.
  • Training: Opportunities for feedback and updating skills are provided and taken advantage of by team members.

From my experience during those barren years, these areas are crucial. If you can identify where the lack is, you can recover ground in the direction of winning.