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Key Attributes of Successful Teams (Part 1)

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At the recent Gartner Sourcing Summit, I had the opportunity to listen to one of the keynote speakers talking about the five key attributes of successful teams.  While listening to his session and afterwards, it made me think of successful teams I have been a part of, and how we were able to accomplish our goals.  In each instance, I found that all five of these key attributes were absolutely a part of those teams.  It was an enjoyable session and so I thought I would summarize the five key attributes and share them, as I do think they are critical for defining a successful team.  

The first behavior is Trust – but not just trusting each other by knowing they will do what they say they will do, going further than that – establishing vulnerability-based trust.   A lot of times in corporations, politics come into play all too frequently.  Vulnerability based trust is genuinely being honest and transparent with the team and being able to say – “I need help”; “I made a mistake”, “I’m sorry”.  When team members are able to be that open and honest and know that they have each other’s backs in good and in bad that is when your team can really conquer mountains and succeed.  

The second attribute is engaging in healthy conflict.  Too many times there is a fear of conflict within a team and individuals will avoid conflict with their peers, while still stewing about a situation.  Being able to passionately disagree and discuss opinions of the team members is healthy and needed within teams.  If team members can voice their opinions and know they have been heard by their peers, they are more willing to accept the final decision, even if it is not the decision they were advocating for.  Healthy conflict also keeps everything out in the open, instead of side conversations and backstabbing behavior occurring.

In my next blog I will talk about the remaining three attributes of successful teams.  Until then share with me your thoughts about trust and healthy conflict and how they play a role in your team’s success.