Team effectiveness, also referred to as team performance, is a team’s capacity to achieve its goals and objectives.
This capacity to achieve goals and objectives leads to improved outcomes for team members (for example, team member satisfaction and willingness to remain together) as well as outcomes produced or influenced by the team.
In a commercial environment, the outcomes would include client satisfaction, meeting sales targets and financial budgets, or production budgets, depending on the reason or objectives determined when the team was established.
In a sporting environment the objective is to win, but the same principles apply with performance targets and the delivery of outcomes, with perhaps even more focus on camaraderie as most join sports teams for recreation.
Quality teamwork relies heavily on good leadership. Teams will not accomplish much if you don’t evaluate them. The old axiom, “what you can measure you can manage” certainly applies as far as team performance is concerned. Leaders who regularly address teamwork-based challenges, build on their team’s strengths, and coach them to overcome their weaknesses.
The Deloitte 2023 Global Human Trends survey found that leadership is more important than ever, and increasingly difficult to find. 94% of respondents to the survey believe that leadership capabilities and effectiveness are important or very important to their organisation’s success, representing the highest importance score across all trends, and yet only 23% believe their organisation’s leaders currently have the capabilities necessary to manage in the new disruptive boundaryless world.
The five characteristics of a successful team
As Kozlowski and Ilgen (Enhancing the Effectiveness of Work Groups and Teams. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, (Kozlowski and Ilgen, 2006) point out in their research, “there is over 50 years of psychological research--literally thousands of studies--focused on understanding and influencing the processes that underlie team effectiveness”. In the concluding section of their report, they summarised their primary findings to highlight specific research, application and policy recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of work groups and teams.
The study was conducted 17 years ago, and it is interesting to note the significant developments and the countless studies on team effectiveness that have taken place since their research.
However, most human resource professionals seem to agree that the five criteria for successful team performance can be summarised under the following headings:
- They have strong leadership.
- They have clear goals, plans, clarity, and structure.
- They have open and honest communication, resolving any conflict constructively and understanding and accepting the difference in behavioural styles and diversity.
- They accept mutual accountability but have clearly defined roles accomplishing their own tasks and supporting each other.
- They appreciate each other and have fun!
So, how do you monitor and measure the effectiveness of your team?
Many managers would simply point to the financial results, sales targets, and other key performance indicators as a measure of team effectiveness, but statistics, and of course meeting targets, while fundamentally very important, do not guarantee staff retention or the satisfaction of all team members. To succeed in this now boundaryless world where everything is connected, leaders must put humans at the centre of every decision made, or risk losing key team members.
There is a large choice of systems available to constantly evaluate and monitor your team, but we have had excellent feedback from clients who are users of Extended DISC products. The Extended DISC system is available in 80 languages and used in over 60 countries spread around the globe. By following the process outlined below, each one of the five characteristics detailed above can be addressed.