Six Characteristics That Make a Highly Effective Team (2023)

Great teams don't just happen. Those teams that fit together like puzzle pieces are the result of hard work and thoughtful leadership. But what exactly are the things you need to look for when putting together a highly effective team?


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Of course, each member of the team needs to have a great set of skills individually, but they also need to prove they can work well within a team. Yet this is not enough to have a highly effective team.


(Video) Characteristics of Effective Teams

Members of a highly effective team should feed off each other's abilities and be able to build a relationship from the ground up.

Here are some of the characteristics of a highly effective team, according to scientific research.

Each Team Member Has Emotional Intelligence

Effective teams possess not only technical skills, but also emotional intelligence. In fact, studies have shown that emotional intelligence is more important than the IQ of each team member. It turns out that if individuals are socially aware, the whole group puts in better quality work.


(Video) Don Nava // 6 Qualities of a Highly Effective Team

A study carried by Anita Woolley from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her colleagues, measured group intelligence and how each individual influences it.

Woolley placed 699 people in teams of two to five and got them to carry out a series of tasks, such as solving puzzles, brainstorming, typing and negotiating. The groups were then evaluated on their performance, and given a group intelligence score.


As it turns out, neither the intelligence of the smartest member, nor the average intelligence of the group, influenced the overall group intelligence. Instead, social sensitivity—the ability to understand the feelings and thoughts of others—was the most important factor that influenced the overall group intelligence.

Woolley measured social sensitivity by getting participants to identify the feelings of another person by looking at photographs of their eyes.


So when it comes to team work, social sensitivity trumps sheer intelligence alone. That means that for team members to work well together, you should look at how well-tuned is the emotional intelligence of each individual.

A Good Mix of Introverts and Extroverts

A much discussed topic as of late, the balance introversion and extroversion can affect how teams work. As a society, many often think of extroverts as doers, go-getters, superior team-players. Though the tide towards valuing individual strengths regardless of extroversion or introversion may be changing, extroverts are still often perceived as being more competent team members as they seem to get along with others more easily.


But as it turns out, studies have shown that extroverts sometimes do worse than they're expected, and so lose status as they disappoint others, while introverts gain status as they exceed expectations for their group participation. In other words, extroverts can create great expectations because of the way they communicate, while introverts tend to undersell the expectations of their work. Neither is better or worse than the other, but a mix of different personality types on a team can help to balance out the effect.


Although personality type gives off certain perceptions of abilities as the groups form, the actual contributions that each member makes to the group redistributes the status of each member.

By mixing up introverts and extroverts, you are preventing setbacks caused by dips in your team's morale as the contribution of each team member emerges.


(Video) What Makes the Highest Performing Teams in the World | Simon Sinek

They Share and Understand Their Common Goals

Your team members need to have common goals and shared ambitions in order to be as efficient as possible. A series of studies on military tactical teams has shown that efficient group work depends on how team members apply a shared understanding of the task.


Scientists call this a shared mental model. This is what allows team members to anticipate what is needed to complete a task and what are the actions of other team members.

Imagine an emergency response team to get a better picture of this. Team members choose their actions without explicit demands made for coordination, because they are able to anticipate both what other team members are going to do, and what the task requires.


It's like watching a great choreography, and it's because team members have a shared understanding of what the outcome needs to be.

You can encourage a shared mental model within your team by setting out clear roles and expectations, or as a team member rather than a manager, clearly communicating and understanding your goals and intentions. This will help each team member understand how their part supports the bigger picture. It will also help each team member understand and respect the work of other team members.


They Make Time for Humor

Humor might not be such an obvious factor in the effectiveness of a team, but actually humor inspires trust and intimacy—which can lead to better team interactions.


Eric Romero from the Peru Catholic University and Anthony Pescosolido from the University of New Hampshire have found that humor can have a positive impact on several aspects of effective team interactions, including effective communication, development of group goals, group productivity and management of emotions.

It may sound clinical and cold to talk about humor as a collaboration and management tool, but it's beneficial to everyone to not be so serious all the time.


(Video) Eight Characteristics of Effective Teams

They Communicate Proactively

Communication is obviously important, but what really matters is proactive communication. Proactive communication can be materialized in four ways:

  • Team members provide information before being asked.
  • They provide support and assistance before being asked.
  • They take team initiative by providing guidance and making suggestions to other team members.
  • They provide updates, creating situational awareness for other team members.

This is similar and related to same mental model—but they are worthy of mentioning separately because of how important they are. Essentially, proactive communication is what enables the same mental model.


Strong Leadership at the Helm

Even when all the team members fit in with the above, teams still need great leadership. The role of the leader isn't only to set an example and to motivate team members, but also to provide effective feedback and to nurture the soft skills mentioned above. Even if you're not the manager of your team, you can still offer constructive criticism to your boss to help them, and to try and help create a stronger team.


The role of the team leader becomes even more important as she is the one responsible for hiring the right people, encouraging communication and ensuring team members share the same story.


Finally, a highly effective team will stand the test of time. They will stick together through thick and thin. They will know how to celebrate achievements and how to readjust their efforts after defeats.

But all of this starts with this handful of characteristics of a highly effective team. Whether you're a manager or just part of a team, you can offer feedback to your colleagues to try and become a better team.


The 6 characteristics of a highly effective team | Sandglaz Blog

Alina Vrabie is a content creator at Sandglaz, a flexible online task management system and team collaboration software.


(Video) 6 Characteristics of a High Performance Culture

Image by Mayrum (Shutterstock).

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What are the 6 characteristics of a good team member? ›

10 Qualities of an Excellent Team Player
  • They are committed to the team. ...
  • They are flexible. ...
  • They are engaged. ...
  • They are reliable and responsible. ...
  • They actively listen. ...
  • They communicate within their team. ...
  • They lend a helping hand. ...
  • They are respectful.
May 11, 2020

What are the 7 characteristics of effective teams? ›

The Seven Characteristics of Good Teams
  • 1) Clearly Defined Expectations.
  • 2) The Importance of Selflessness in Teamwork.
  • 3) Many Opinions, One Goal.
  • 4) Encourage Open Communication.
  • 5) Why Flexibility Matters.
  • 6) Constructive Conflict Drives Innovation.
  • 7) Many Voices, But One Message.
Jan 6, 2017

What are 5 characteristics of a good team? ›

6 Characteristics of a successful team
  • They have clear goals and plans. ...
  • They have strong leadership. ...
  • Members fulfill their own tasks and also help one another. ...
  • Members communicate openly with the team. ...
  • Members resolve conflict constructively. ...
  • Members feel they directly contribute to the company's success.
Jul 28, 2021

What makes a effective team? ›

Hackman proposed evaluating team effectiveness on three criteria: output, collaborative ability, and members' individual development. We have found that these criteria apply as well as ever and advise that leaders use them to calibrate their teams over time.

What are the 6 C's of teamwork? ›

Sometimes called the six key elements of building trust, the 6 C's are the essential skills and attributes that will help you enhance the confidence in your relationships: character, caring, competence, consistency, credibility, and communication.

What are six 6 team work skills? ›

Here are seven teamwork skills that are essential for your academic and professional success:
  • Communication. Communication is the foundation of effective teamwork. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Problem-solving. ...
  • Listening. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Collaboration. ...
  • Leadership.

What are the 6 rules to team building? ›

6 Ground Rules for Great Teamwork
  • Know Thyself and Thy Team. This topic was covered in detail in my August blog, but it bears mentioning again. ...
  • Values and Vision. ...
  • Communicate Often. ...
  • Tell them the "WHY" behind the major decisions. ...
  • Be Genuine. ...
  • Be open to Ideas ~ Encourage Thinking.
Mar 28, 2017

What are the 7 keys to building great work team? ›

Leaders can help work teams by addressing these "rules" of team spirit: value the individual; develop team trust; communicate openly; manage differences; share successes; welcome new members.

What are the 8 characteristics of highly effective teams? ›

8 Key Characteristics of Effective Teams
  • Care for each other.
  • Open and truthful.
  • High levels of trust.
  • Consensus decisions.
  • Commitment.
  • Address conflict.
  • Real listening.
  • Express feelings.

What are the six key dimensions of an effective team leader? ›

The six dimensions are; (1) adaptability, (2) coordination, (3) decision making, (4) leadership, (5) communication and (6) interpersonal.

What are the 6 types of teams? ›

6 types of teams in the workplace with teamwork examples
  • Functional teams. Functional teams include members of the same department. ...
  • Cross-functional teams. ...
  • Self-managed teams. ...
  • Troubleshooting teams. ...
  • Project team. ...
  • Task-force teams.
Sep 29, 2021

What are the 5 C's of effective teamwork? ›

The Five Cs for team building: Confidence (Trust), Consensus, Commitment, Collaboration and Communic -

What are the 7 characteristics of team dynamics? ›

7 Characteristics of Team Dynamics that Make for a Winning Team
  • Shared Purpose. The difference between a team and a group is that a team has a shared goal. ...
  • Trust and Openness. ...
  • Willingness to Correct Mistakes. ...
  • Diversity and Inclusion. ...
  • Interdependence and a Sense of Belonging. ...
  • Consensus Decision Making.
Nov 10, 2015

What are the 7 C's to build a winning team? ›

However, the success of team collaboration is not a guarantee and requires diligent planning and hard work. Tannenbaum and Salas (2020) suggest that there are seven “Cs” (or drivers) of teamwork, namely: capability, cooperation, coordination, communication, cognition, coaching, and conditions.

How do you build a highly effective team? ›

How to Build a Strong Team in 9 Steps
  1. Establish expectations from day one. ...
  2. Respect your team members as individuals. ...
  3. Engender connections within the team. ...
  4. Practice emotional intelligence. ...
  5. Motivate with positivity. ...
  6. Communicate, communicate, communicate. ...
  7. Look for ways to reward good work. ...
  8. Diversify.
Sep 13, 2021

What are the 6 C's of success? ›

The School was established on the concept of six Cs of success: Communication, Confidence, Curiosity, Creativity, Collaboration and Competence.

What are the six elements of leadership? ›

The six elements of leadership are care, person- ality, knowledge, motivation, commit- ment, and communication. An entire chapter is devoted to each of the six elements. Although these principles are effective, leadership takes hard work.

What is 6Cs? ›

The 6Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment and competence – are the central set of values of the Compassion in Practice strategy, which was drawn up by NHS England Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings and launched in December 2012.

What are six skills characteristics? ›

If you're starting out, demonstrating these qualities could put you ahead of the game and your career on the fast track to success.
  • Professionalism. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Interpersonal communication. ...
  • Critical thinking and problem solving. ...
  • Work ethic. ...
  • Teamwork.
Nov 16, 2016

What are six 6 things you could consider to motivate and develop individuals within the team? ›

Jump to section
  • Share your vision and set clear goals.
  • Communicate with your staff.
  • Encourage teamwork.
  • A healthy office environment.
  • Give positive feedback and reward your team.
  • Provide opportunities for development.
  • Give employees the space they need to thrive.

What are the 8 C's of team building? ›

Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to each of the following.
  • Clear Expectations: ...
  • Context: ...
  • Commitment: ...
  • Competence: ...
  • Charter: ...
  • Control: ...
  • Collaboration: ...
  • Communication:

What are the 4 C's of teamwork? ›

If you want to establish a team identity, you have to give your team an opportunity to openly discuss the 4 C's of a Team Identity: clarity, commitment, contribution, and concerns.

What are the 5 golden rules for team building? ›

Team building – 5 Golden Rules for Building a Great Team
  • Be open minded. Putting all your biggest brains together won't build a good team. ...
  • Mix people. Don't think extroverts people as better 'team-players'. ...
  • Build Trust. People works together effectively if they trust each other. ...
  • Be happy. ...
  • Define goals and roles.

What are the 11 characteristics of a good team? ›

11 Characteristics of Effective Teams
  • Clear direction. Yes, it's about a clear sense of purpose and measurable objectives. ...
  • Open doors and clear communication. ...
  • Collaboration spirit. ...
  • Playing by the rules. ...
  • Defined roles. ...
  • Encouraging differences in opinions. ...
  • Mutual accountability. ...
  • Team trust.
Feb 2, 2021

What are the 10 characteristics of high performing teams? ›

  • Clear and aligned purpose. ...
  • Clear roles and responsibilities. ...
  • Build trust through relationships. ...
  • Communicate frequently and effectively. ...
  • Collaborate often. ...
  • Appreciate & encourage diverse thinking. ...
  • Manage conflict constructively. ...
  • Learn and adapt.

What are the key characteristics of a team? ›

9 characteristics of an effective team
  • Clearly defined goals. A successful team fully understands and accepts both company and project goals. ...
  • Clearly defined roles. ...
  • Team rules. ...
  • Open communication. ...
  • Team trust. ...
  • Shared accountability. ...
  • Mutual decision making. ...
  • A bold leader.
Dec 15, 2020

What are the six 6 characteristics of management? ›

These are- planning, organising, directing, staffing and controlling. As a matter of fact, a manager performs all these functions simultaneously. Although these functions are separate, management is concerned with performing all of them simultaneously all the time.

What are the six objectives of a team? ›

A team that has fun together and can work together is a particularly valuable entity.
  • Boost morale and motivation.
  • Build customer relationships.
  • Improve teamwork.
  • Enhance employee satisfaction, loyalty, creativity and problem solving.
  • Attract the best talent.
  • Resolve conflict and difficult issues.
Sep 26, 2016

What are the six 6 main functions of a leader should have? ›

Here are seven functions a leader needs to perform:
  • Setting goals. ...
  • Organising. ...
  • Take initiatives. ...
  • Cooperation among employees. ...
  • Motivation and direction. ...
  • Liaison between workers and management. ...
  • Policy making.
Aug 17, 2021

What are Six Sigma teams? ›

Six Sigma team formation typically consists of stakeholders, executives, champions, and team members (yellow belts) who are led by a green belt or black belt. Project level membership may include master black belts, black belts, green belts, or yellow belts who help in management of the improvement initiative.

What are the 5 functions of a team? ›

The characteristics of a cohesive team are Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. Each behavior in the model builds upon the previous and supports the others.

What are 8 characteristics of a strong team? ›

8 Key Characteristics of Effective Teams
  • Care for each other.
  • Open and truthful.
  • High levels of trust.
  • Consensus decisions.
  • Commitment.
  • Address conflict.
  • Real listening.
  • Express feelings.

What are the 5 C's of teamwork? ›

A great way to help your team come together is to strive for the five C's, which stand for communication, camaraderie, commitment, confidence and coachability. When you begin working on each of these areas, you will notice significant changes to your teammates and yourself.

What are the six E's of leadership? ›

That's the six E's of leadership: Envision, Enlist, Embody, Empower, Evaluate, Encourage.


2. Three characteristics that define the most successful teams | Centre for Army Leadership
(Centre for Army Leadership)
3. Characteristics of a High Performing Team
(MBC Development)
4. Secrets Of Successful Teamwork: Insights From Google
(Coding Tech)
5. 5 traits of HIGHLY effective teams (according to Google's Project Aristotle)
(Character Quest)
6. The Cart - The 4 Types of Team Members You Can Hire
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