Culture Bites - 028 8 Keys of Team Effectiveness

Published on 06 Nov 2018
Team Effectiveness - LinkedIn Size

When teams perform at the best of their abilities, it’s magic! An unseen switch gets flipped. Fixed individual positions give way to fluid collaboration and team flow. Gone are the ‘trip wires’ of egos, blame, shame, butt kicking, and the could’ves, would’ves and should’ves. People are prepared to trust one another and adapt to change as they ‘merge awareness into action’. In short, they go from ‘me’ to ‘we’. In this Episode of Culture Bites, we discuss 8 keys to Team Effectiveness

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Key Tips for building team effectiveness:

Below are the 8 key tips we discuss on this episode of the podcast. Listen to the full episode to get the deeper discussion around each of the points below.


1 Self-awareness: Who we are, what motivates us, and how we show up
To operate effectively in the peer-to-peer relationships required of teamwork, individuals need to be aware of and understand themselves – how they think, what motivates them, what they value and how these factors influence their behaviour with others. How we see ourselves along with how we perceive and experience others has a significant role in determining the quality of our interpersonal relationships with team members.


2 Social Sensitivity: Our consciousness of others and our relationship with them
Social sensitivity is the ability to perceive and correctly interpret social cues while responding and interacting to them respectfully. A high level of social sensitivity between team members has been shown to be a predictor of high performance in teams. People with higher levels of social sensitivity usually have: high levels of interpersonal awareness, an ability to see themselves in relationships with others, an ability to understand the dynamics between people and regulate their emotions and adapt their behaviour to respond appropriately. The more socially sensitive, the more we are able to ‘read’ the room and the more we can adapt and respond to unspoken signals in an effective way.


3 The Leader’s Impact: How the leader shapes the behaviour of their team
An effective team has a clear leader who’s accountable for the team outcomes. They maintain a clear focus on what their team members should prioritise and where they ought to invest their time and energy. They’re also aware that team members often model their own behaviour on that of their leaders.

The leader shapes the team’s effectiveness through: being clear in their messages; being clear about what they expect of the team, the type of team they want to build, the team’s role and how the team will operate; having a clear view of what ‘good’ looks like in terms of what needs to be achieved and the standards that must be met in terms of behaviour and performance; providing direction without being overly directive and doing their people’s jobs for them.

Their behaviour is also important in creating a foundation of trust and authenticity in which team members feel able to speak up, challenge the status quo, be creative and be vulnerable in their team interactions. They must be perceived as: being open to feedback; encouraging frank debate and collaboration; enabling a level of risk-taking while also attending to results and outcomes.


4 Purpose and Direction: Why our Team Exists
Effective teams have a clear reason or purpose for their existence. They know that their effort will make a difference because they have a shared understanding of their purpose, their direction and how they’ll be measured. Research has shown that high-performing teams have a clear and compelling purpose – compelling because the purpose is: challenging, with a stretch goal that the team has the ability and capacity to attain; ‘consequential’, in that it makes an essential and significant contribution to the organisation’s overall strategy


5 Real Team, right roles, right level: What We Do
Before establishing a team, the leader needs to ask themselves whether establishing a team is the best approach to the challenge they’re trying to address. If the work is routine or procedural and most of it can be done independently of collaboration, a team is unlikely to be the best option. The probability of a team being effective increases if the work is suited to teamwork.

Having formed a team, it’s important to ensure: Clarity on who is in the team and why; role clarity; recruit the right people; the leader works at the right level.


6 Cohesion and Constructive Norms and Behaviours: How We Work Together
It can be argued that the most important elements of team effectiveness are the norms that characterise team members’ interactions and teamwork. For example, teams that agree on a ‘code’ or charter that outlines their agreed values and standards of behaviour when interacting with each other (both within and outside the team environment) increase their chances of being effective.

Human Synergistics’ research has shown that when the norms that underpin team interactions are ‘constructive’, the teams’ effectiveness is much higher than when the norms are ‘defensive’. This conclusion was reached using our Group Styles Inventory™ (GSI), which measures team climate, behaviour and impact using the ‘Circumplex’ – a graphic model that measures 12 group ‘styles’, or ways in which group members approach a task and work together as a team.


7 Effective Practices and Ways of Working: Our Roles in the Team
Teams need an effective operating rhythm that provides clarity on things like: How often they meet, how long for; The types of meetings and their purpose; Which issues need to be brought for collective problem solving and input from all team members, before a decision can be made and which do not; Which decisions can be made within function independent of team collaboration.


8 Organisational Culture: How Context and Operating Environment Affect Us
Neither individuals nor teams in an organisation operate in a vacuum. They’re part of an overall organisational system that’s shaped and influenced by the organisation’s culture and climate. The impact of organisational culture and climate on teams is highlighted in the ‘How Culture Works™’ model below developed by Dr. Robert Cooke. The model shows how the values of an organisation influence the ‘causal factors’ – five elements that shape culture, which in turn affects the effectiveness of the ‘group’ outcomes.


The ‘How Culture Works’ model also suggests a number of factors that should be considered before establishing a team:


Download the ‘Working on We’ White paper - Teams Paper - Working on 'we'

Working on we

Watch Corinne’s Conference Presentation on High Performance Teams:


Do you have a question you want us to answer? Email:

Listen to previous Culture Podcasts:

001: Kick Starting a Passive Team
002: Dealing with Delegation
003: Telling Someone They have a Blind Spot
004: What's Wrong with Being Competitive?
005: I have a Competitive Teammate – Help!
006: What is a Toxic Culture?
007: How Leaders Impact Culture
008: Is Culture / Climate / Engagement the same thing?
009: My Manager is Resisting Culture Change
010: How the Banks got here
011: Myth Busters: If I’m not Aggressive then I must be Passive
012: How Culture Works Pt1 – Overview
013: How Culture Works Pt2 – Mission, Philosophy, Structures
014: How Culture Works Pt3 – HR Systems
015: How Culture Works Pt4 – Job Design
016: How Culture Works Pt5 – Leadership
017: Rebecca Kardos, CEO Aurora Energy
018: Is Conflict in Teams Good or Bad?
019: Does Teamwork Work?
020: Tips and tricks for LSI Debriefs
021: Can you use the LSI for Recruitment?
022: Dear C.B., My Manager is Cold
023: Passive LSI Action Tips
024: Aggressive LSI Action Tips
025: Breaking Down Silos
026: SuperMind Neuro Science of Creativity
027: Conference Highlights
028: 8 Keys of Team Effectiveness
029: Coaching Questions for Passive Styles

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