High-Performing Teams Are About Personalities, Not Just Skills

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Too often, people think a good team is dependent on a certain mix of skill sets.

Depending on our business models, we may think a good team requires someone from accounting, a person knowledgeable in sales, a strong admin, and of course—a decisive leader.

And although it is true that key roles are needed in any business, a person’s knowledge base on a subject is not the only deciding factor when building a successful team.

Research is showing that effective business teams are comprised of people who not only know the business, they know how to work well relationally with other people in the business.

The really great teams are made up of great personalities.

They know how to manage themselves, and they know how to manage others.

This is where not only IQ comes in, but EQ, or emotional intelligence.

There are five components to EQ.

The first three, self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation are all about our individual ability to manage our internal emotional responses and external behavior.

The other two, empathy and social skills are about our ability to relate well with others.

These EQ components have a profound effect on leadership and our ability to work well with one another.

But as we start to talk about great teams, a key point goes a little beyond emotional intelligence.

A high-performing team member has the right skill set, a developed EQ, and a commitment to the concept of team.

The person to look for when building a strong team is someone whose life prospective resembles the catchphrase, It’s not about me, it’s about we.

So how do you know if you have a great team with a good personality mix?

4 Key Characteristics of High Performing Teams

High-performance teams develop an environment of trust.

The word trust has huge connotations.

When you think of trust, you may jump to the meaning of relational trust—I really know you, you really know me, and I know that I can count on you.

This concept of trust is rare in life. It is even rarer in the business context.

The concept of trust I am referring to for an effective team is one of vulnerability and openness.

What I mean by being vulnerable on a team—I am going to share what I am really thinking and feeling. Openness—I am going to make room for your thoughts.

High-performance teams have purpose and identity.

Teams need to know why they are a team.

Often, in a business setting, purpose and identity are related to a department, specific business model or a special project.

The more well-defined the purpose, the greater the performance of the team. Too many generalities can lead to a lack of focused action.

For example, if a team has been tasked with something vague like office culture, there may not be instant action points a team can rally around.

What is the team’s stated purpose?

An effective team has a purpose statement. This team exists to accomplish a specific outcome.

High-performance teams believe they can make a difference.

Great teams have group efficacy. They believe that what they are doing is important and effective.

This is where leadership is important to a team.

Help a team by casting vision. Show your team how what they are doing is meaningful by giving them roadmaps for how the specific project or task will benefit the organization as a whole.

A team’s belief in what they do will enable them to press into challenges and difficulties, even the political situations in an organization.

They will find a way around, underneath, and through any obstacles to accomplishing their goals—because they really believe that what they are doing matters.

High-performance teams give everyone a voice.

Effective teams recognize that every person in their team is important.

They not only make room for the thoughts and opinions of everyone on their team—they seek them out.

This can make for some lively conversation and even difficult conversations.

When you get a lot of strong personalities working on something together, especially framing and troubleshooting problems, ideas are inevitably going to clash.

Great teams know how to make environments that collect those ideas and then allows for them to crash.

They know that the sparks that fly from those verbal sword fights ignite great ideas—ideas that not only solve problems and roadblocks but produce ingenuity.

Empowered voices are crucial to high-performance teams.

If you have read through this list and find yourself or your team lacking—don’t panic. All of these components can be developed.

The great thing about emotional intelligence within team dynamics, and how it differs from knowledge or expertise in a given field, is that is can be learned and applied to your current setting.

We all want high-performing teams.

They not only make a work environment a place to thrive, they yield the kind of outcomes and results needed to grow a business or organization.

Whether you are looking to build a new team or focusing on improving the one you already have—learn to look beyond your team’s technical proficiencies as the focus for staff development. Mine the current personalities present and lead by example.

These are just a few insights that will help you navigate those critical conversations in your life and career, but there’s so much more.

There are powerful tools that can really help you become more effective, and we at Ember Learning are here to help. With over 25 years of professional consulting in top businesses around the country, we want to share some of our top insights with you.

Download our FREE PDF “15 Ways to Turn Hard Conversations into Win-Win Dialogue” now!