Characteristics of a Highly Effective Team

by Katia Savenko Updated January 03, 2022

Discuss the characteristics of a highly effective team. What are some of the barriers to teamwork?

By talking about the effectiveness of a team, I would like to look at the subject from different perspectives:
> Effective Player
> Effective Leadership
> Effective Project Management Techniques
> Effective Performing

What makes an individual an Effective Member (EM) of the team? Patrick Lencioni thinks there are three components of the ideal team member:
Humility: not thinking less about ourselves, but thinking about ourselves less;
Hungry: not about workaholism, but high standard;
Smart: how we understand people.
If at least one of the three ingredients is missing, people slow down the effectiveness of the team for being either Slacker (lack of Hungry), or Mess-Maker (lack of Smart), or Politician (lack of Humility).

Patrick Lencioni suggested playing this game to pick “labels” and check with others. I behave as a Slacker in most teams of my life, while independently, I perform as an ideal player; yes, I am an aloof employee (vs. gregarious employee).

Effective Leadership (EL) determines the success of team development. According to Tuckman’s Model, there are several stages of team building that require a variety of guidance styles (Thought Bulb, 2020):
Forming stage. “Teller” introduces and builds the structure to stick together.
Storming stage. “Coach” uses conflicts to work collaboratively and set new standards;
Norming Stage where teams have a natural plateau and their performance starts to normalize. “Facilitator” breaks through to reach peak performance of the team.
“Delegating” at Performing Stage.
“Celebrating” to accomplish the Adjourning Stage.

Adriana Girdler (2021) reviewed Project Management Techniques (PS Tools) to ramp up the performance of the team, such as:
> Project Scope outlines deliverables, deadlines, and budgets; what is in and out of the project. Orientation and instruction;
> WBS (work breakdown structure) divides the complex task into smaller parts and describes the work and functions. An action list;
> SharePoint site is a location for all critical information where the team shares content and resources – a website-based collaboration system.

To make this all happen, we need an Effective Performing (EP) that consists of:
> open and trust communication to stay connected during tough times;
> sense of accountability to take responsibilities and rely on each other that they get the work done (Childcare, 2020);
> share spotlight (Girdler, 2021);
> task delegation as even “Super You” needs help (Childcare, 2020);

The obstacles to teamwork may arise on all described above levels. For instance, there are some common barriers below:
> Knowing where to begin (vs. using PS Tool)
> Dominating team member (relates to EM)
> Poor performance of team members (all parts included)
(Professor Jessica, 2019);
> Bad Leadership (EL)
> Poor Goal Planning (PM Tools)
> Personality Clashes (EM)
(George, n.d.);
> Poor communication and conflict resolution skills (EL, EM, EP)
> Accountability issue (EP, EM)
> Workflow mismanagement (EP, EL)
> Lack of Incentives (EL, EP)
Finally, the last two teamwork barriers have not been discussed in my post; perhaps, because of less opportunity to provide standard solutions:
> Team Size
> Physical Separation
(Indeed, 2021).

The takeaway, teamwork Is a complex matter, and it is always about people, communication, and shared goals. I believe the EM-EL-EP-and-PM Tools checklist will navigate my start from scratch. Tune-up the structure requires profound management, leadership, and conflict solving knowledge.


Childcare Experts (2020, May 06). Effective Teamwork [Video]. YouTube.

George N. Root III (n.d.). Biggest Barriers to Teamwork. Chron.

Girdler, A. (2021, December 1). 5 Tips for Effective Teamwork in the Workplace. [Video]. YouTube.

Indeed Editorial Team (2021, September 28). 11 Common Barriers to Teamwork and How You Can Overcome Them. Indeed.

Professor Jessica (2019, April 30). Barriers to effective teams. [Video]. YouTube.

TEDx Talks (2020, March 18). Are you an ideal team player? | Patrick Lencioni | TEDxUniversityofNevada. [Video]. YouTube.

Thought Bulb (2020, May 26). Tuckman’s Team Building Model | How to build a Team? [Video]. YouTube.

Waye, T. (2021, January 11). Good Teamwork and Bad Teamwork – Teamwork Motivational Video. [Video]. YouTube.

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