What Makes a Team?

Andrew Jones will be holding a masterclass on team involvement titled “Don’t just do something – stand there!” at the ICF Coaching Converastions 2018 ‘>11 secrets of great teams’ conference. You will also hear him discussing the ‘invisible curtain of team coaching’ in a panel discussion. Here he shares a few tips about teamwork optimization and actualizing common challenges.

Initially very little was written about teamwork (only in Tuckman’s model from 1965 and Adair’s work). A greater interest in teams began appearing from the late 90’s, and in the 2000’s models and books appeared. Above all, folks started to understand what makes a team – it’s not the same as a group, and it’s definitely not just a bunch of people all reporting to same person. This interest led to more current work on moving towards high performance teams.

Teamwork Challenges

The most important asset of a successful team is strong mutual respect between the people in the team. This means they can disagree and have genuine dialogue around ideas and the behaviours necessary for success –  and do this without fear of repercussions or inhibitions. The biggest challenge for teams is the misconception that addressing a task will lead to becoming a great team – attending to the team itself is also necessary. It is also imperative that enough time is allocated for the team to do this together.

3 Tips for Teams

  1. Leaders must commit their time and attention to promote the behaviour and climate they wish to create in their team. They need to understand their teams.
  2. Find ways to reward team performance, and stop the ridiculous dogma that individual rewards and performance will drive team performance. I defy anyone to find a great team, where team output is not prioritised over individual performance!
  3. Only play as a team when it is required and essential – if you aren’t a team, don’t pretend to be one. This only makes it harder for everyone at the ICF conference to do truly great work with teams.