In an age of advanced technology, the elementary school praise of “works well with others” reflects a quality that leverages value today more than ever. The skills required for good teamwork support career development by delivering improved effectiveness, influence, and leadership potential within the workplace. For organizations who get their work done through teams, the behaviors and skills of effective teamwork are essential! For organizations less focused on (or clear about) the role of teams, these behaviors and skills help you stand apart, through your ability to help the organization leverage everyone’s strengths.

To develop this advantage, you should learn about healthy team dynamics. Read one of Patrick Lencioni’s books, such as The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, or The Ideal Team Player. Consider how you can support the development of team effectiveness for those teams of which you are a member, keeping in mind that we all make important contributions to how groups function. Without facilitation skills and a facilitation role, you may not be able to change fundamental dynamics. However, you’d be surprised! Subtle but powerful shifts in individual behavior profoundly affect teams!

Start by exploring how you can support your team to:

  • Trust one another enough to be vulnerable, and allow your team mates to be vulnerable about human error and uncertainty, and,
  • Address substantive conflict about ideas in productive ways.

And work on developing the three key characteristics essential to being a team player, taken from Patrick Lencioni’s The Ideal Team Player:

  • Humility– limit your focus on your own ego, and concerns about status. Initiate sharing credit and emphasize the team’s efforts whenever that is applicable!
  • Hunger– Be self-motivated and diligent in thinking about the future requirements for your team’s objectives. Consider working with a coach, or a peer thinking partner, to identify your blind spots and opportunities in developing both Hunger and Humility.
  • People Smarts– Develop high emotional intelligence to succeed in building effective, collaborative relationships.  If you don’t know what emotional intelligence is or would like to grow your skills in this area, utilize a book, self-assessment and/or workbook to learn more. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves is a wonderful resource.  Coaching is also an excellent resource for skill development in this area.

Seek out these learning opportunities and try developing some new skills. By working to support team effectiveness in your current role, you will help your organization create more effective results, and also bolster your own career.

This blog was written by Susan C. Hagood, MSOD.  Ms. Hagood is an Organization Development Consultant for Evolution Management, Inc., specializing in team development. Susan and the EMI team are energized about assisting individuals with career development and transition, as well as outplacement support. Contact EMI for more information about how we can assist you or your organization: or 770.587.9032.