CPA & Business Advisory Blog


Successful Teams Share Common Traits

So many of us have experienced it… at one point in your life, you’re a member of a high-functioning team that leverages each other’s strengths, appreciates differences and works toward common goals. At another point in your life, you’re a member of a low-functioning team with members who are self-promotional, narrow-minded and work toward individual goals.  These teams could be your high school basketball team or your current-day work team. No matter where or how, teams can make or break results (and your nerves).

When asking yourself how well your team performs, it might initially be difficult to articulate specific ways in which it does or doesn’t meet your standards. The following questions, along with corresponding behaviors and team dynamics for each question, might help put it all into perspective and enable you to begin answering that question.

Is it easy to laugh together?

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Enjoying unexpected moments
  • Extending some friendly teasing

Would you mind covering for someone if they have to dash out a few hours early one day? 

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Appreciating someone’s work/life balance
  • Encouraging family time

If an issue comes up, do you tackle it as a group?

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Talking straight
  • Being kind when providing feedback

Do you all know what the end result looks like?

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Sharing a clear vision
  • Cascading information (up, down, parallel) as it comes in
  • Celebrating successes

Is it safe to admit mistakes and make improvements?

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Assuming good intent
  • Working through issues
  • Sharing without the fear of retaliation

Does everyone pull their weight?

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Communicating the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) maxim
  • Leading by example
  • Exercising accountability

Is everyone “in the right seat” and engaging their natural strengths?

Corresponding behaviors and dynamics:

  • Leveraging innate abilities
  • Respecting professional weaknesses
  • Conducting regular reviews/check-ins with members

Many intangibles exist in productive teams that keep the enjoyment and participation high. Until teams actually stop to think about how they achieve their goals or why it’s fun to work together, we understandably take those things for granted and habitually get up each morning and go to work. As the saying goes, “Time to make the donuts…”

In Patrick Lencioni’s book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” he identifies five elements that could prevent teams from being their best: absence of trust; fear of conflict; lack of commitment; avoidance of accountability; and inattention to results. Inspired by the book, our team at Skoda Minotti has assembled actionable behaviors that teams can apply to keep their camaraderie and performance high.

Do you have questions about human resources issues? Please contact Megan Last at 440-449-6800 or email Megan.
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