10 Research-Backed Steps To Building A Great Team



How do you build a great team?

A great team is not just a group of great individuals.

Research studies have shown the elements that go into making a productive  group aren’t always obvious and often defy conventional wisdom.


1) Don’t just look for smarts, look for social  skills

What makes for smart teams? It’s not average IQ; it’s team  social skills:

The three factors are: the average social  sensitivity of the members of the group, the extent to which the group’s  conversations weren’t dominated by a few members, and the percentage of  women in the group.  (The women in the study tended to score higher on  social sensitivity than the men.) In other words, groups perform  better on tasks if the members have strong social skills, if there are some  women in the group, and if the conversation reflects more group members’ ideas.


2) The best predictor of team success is if they  like one another

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive  Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

…a study of over 350 employees in 60 business  units at a financial services company found that the greatest  predictor of a team’s achievement was how the members felt about one  another.

How well do they need to get along? Remember the  5 to 1 ratio.

From The Ape in the Corner Office: How to Make Friends, Win Fights and  Work Smarter by Understanding Human Nature:

It turned out that the fifteen  high-performance teams averaged 5.6 positive interactions for every negative  one. The nineteen low-performance teams racked up a  positive/negative ratio of just .363. That is, they had about three negative  interactions for every positive one…

Is your team fist bumping, high-fiving and hugging? “The  teams that touched the most cooperated the most, and won the most.”

Via Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your  Behavior:

So are touchy-feely people more successful at  getting things done? There is no data on whether bosses who dole out the  occasional pat on the head run a smoother operation, but a 2010  study by a group of researchers in Berkeley found a case in which a habit of  congratulatory slaps to the skull really is associated with successful group  interactions. The Berkeley researchers studied the sport of basketball, which  both requires extensive second-by-second teamwork and is known for its elaborate  language of touching. They found that the number of “fist bumps, high fives,  chest bumps, leaping shoulder bumps, chest punches, head slaps, head grabs, low  fives, high tens, half hugs, and team huddles” correlated significantly with the  degree of cooperation among teammates, such as passing to those who are less  closely defended, helping others escape defensive pressure by setting what are  called “screens,” and otherwise displaying a reliance on a teammate at the  expense of one’s own individual performance. The teams that touched the most  cooperated the most, and won the most.


3) The most creative teams are a mix of old  friends and strangers

Via Imagine: How Creativity Works:

“The best Broadway teams, by far, were  those with a mix of relationships,” Uzzi says. “These teams had some old  friends, but they also had newbies. This mixture meant that the artists could  interact efficiently— they had a familiar structure to fall back on— but they  also managed to incorporate some new ideas. They were comfortable with each  other, but they weren’t too comfortable.”


4) Team morale is about good storytelling

What inspires team morale? Great  stories:

Institutions that can communicate a  compelling historical narrative often inspire a special kind of commitment among  employees. It is this dedication that directly affects a company’s success and  is critical to creating a strong corporate legacy,” said author Adam  Galinsky, Morris and Alice Kaplan professor of ethics and decision in  management.


5) Effective team performance requires clear  goals

Via Group  Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration:

One study of more than five hundred  professionals and managers in thirty companies found that unclear objectives  became the biggest barrier to effective team performance.


6) After goals, define roles

Via Top  Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing

Clarifying who is going to do what— identifying distinct roles— is one of the most proven ways to increase the  quality of teamwork. The egalitarian notion that team members should be equal in  status and interchangeable in their roles is erroneous. Teams work best when  participants know their roles, but not every role needs to be  equal. Dr. Eduardo Salas, at the University of Central Florida, is  one of the most widely cited scholars studying team efficiency. He has devoted  his life to understanding the vast sea of team-building and team-training  processes— analyzing teams used in the military, law enforcement, NASA, and  numerous corporate settings. The only strategies that consistently  deliver results are those that focus on role clarification: who’s going to do  what when the pressure gets intense.


7) Want fast teamwork? Then focus on being  smooth

Via The  Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking:

the Formula One pit crew with whom he  worked, whose members were told that they would no longer be assessed on the  basis of speed targets; they would be rated on style instead. Instructed to  focus on acting “smoothly”, rather than on beating their current record time,  they wound up performing faster.


8) It’s okay to treat stars differently

Via Top  Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing

Doesn’t giving stars special treatment undermine  the motivation of the rest of the team? Researchers have looked at the pay  of NBA stars, compared with that of their lesser-famous  teammates. On average, if certain teammates are getting what is  perceived to be an unjustified windfall, that hurts performance: team members  won’t work as hard to grab what they see as the short end of the stick. But as  long the star treatment is warranted, it doesn’t hurt  performance… Stars aren’t the same. Stars face elevated  levels of scrutiny: the expectations for their performances are much  higher.


9) Have men and women on your team

Teams with men and women performed  better:

For MBAs, at the top, the best performing  group is two men and one woman. The differences in performance are  explained by differences in decision-making. We observe that three women teams  are less aggressive in their pricing strategies, invest less in R&D, and  invest more in social sustainability initiatives, than any other gender  combination teams. Finally, we find support for the hypothesis that it is poor  work dynamics among the three women teams that drives the results.


10) Research shows a team really is  only as strong as its weakest link.

Team trust is not determined by an average of the members, it’s at the level  of the least  trusted member:

Findings from two studies demonstrate  that perceptions of team trust are indeed lower than the average  ratings of individual trust and are statistically equivalent to the least  trusted member. In addition, compared with average individual  trust levels, perceptions of collective team trust were found to be more  predictive of (a) impasse rates in distributive negotiations and (b) the level  of joint gain in integrative negotiations

Read more: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/07/great-team/#ixzz2ZtynhGth

Source: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/07/great-team/