Most of us have seen or heard about them, if not experienced them first hand. We’ve stood in awe at their ability to get things done, excel, and do things with integrity despite overwhelming odds. From sports to business, we are amazed at teams that not only succeed, but seem to do so when everything seems to stand against them. Here are some critical teamwork skills that extraordinary teams possess. In my experience with teams, these are the most critical factors that help produce incredible results. There are literally millions of little factors in every team that can mean the difference between their life and death, but these are the ones that, if you possess and work towards as a team, you will be well on your way to achieve more than you thought possible.
The Skill of Integrity
Integrity is a rare character trait today (sad to say). I’ve told high school students that to set themselves apart in the world (whether it’s business or personally) typically requires one thing: be a person of your word. Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through with your commitments. It’s amazing how many people fail to do this. If you can find a team of people that are committed to this, it’s even more rare.
Leaders of teams of this nature have to lead by example or it will never work. You can’t be the leader who says, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Integrity requires a strong commitment. One of my favorite movie quotes is from “Remember the Titans” where Denzel Washington says, “As the leader goes, so go the troops.” I’ve seen it, as I’m sure you have, that if a leader is short on integrity, so are the members of the team. A leader cannot require something of his subordinates that he does not require of himself.
The Skill of Trust
Trust is one of the most critical team skills that can propel a team forward or hold it back. It is one of the foundational components of successful teams. Without trust, it is next to impossible to build a productive team. There are numerous ways for leadership to tell a team that they trust them, both verbally and non-verbally.
Trust is also one of the hardest skills to develop and maintain. Once trust is established, a team and its leadership must work at keeping the trust level high. There are few things that can make or break a team like trust.
The Skill of Communication
Just like with any relationship, communication is critical. Miscommunication has been the downfall of many a team and relationship. Top teams excel at this area. They communicate with each other. The leader communicates vision, values, and strategy. There may be some small breakdowns in communication, but for a top team, these breakdowns are rare and the exception rather than the rule.
The Skill of Flexibility
When change occurs, teams must adapt quickly, or they will lost their momentum. You may wonder why this skill is included in this list. I believe it is a very important skill that a team can have. If one of the only constants in our world is change, flexibility is a key characteristic. Being a part of well-oiled machine requires flexibility, which we could also label as adaptability.
The Skill of Empowerment
Empowerment is an investment in others’ leadership and talent. This high-level leadership skill is one that must start and be supported from the top down. High-quality leaders empower others. This skill also produces a massive amount of trust in the team. As leaders empower others, it tells them that they are highly trusted. As leaders mentor other leaders, it not only produces trust, but also raises the quality of leadership in the organization.