Is there a perfect team for work?
However, some teams are very close to the truth.
Many teams are victims to useless conflicts or dead-end arguments, but there are some teams that shine and sparkle. Google’s super-efficient teams make you wonder: “Why can’t our team be the next Google?” What is it that makes them so great?
These “perfect” teams seem to have something that your team doesn’t have. But what is that something?
This is a question almost every company has tried to answer. Google and other companies have done extensive research to find the secrets to building and maintaining successful teams.
Unfortunately, there is no “holy grail,” or way to create the perfect work team. There is however a vital mix that works in almost every “perfect” team.
These qualities can be taught to your team to improve their productivity and performance. These amazing teams can be a great source of inspiration for you to share with your team members.
Here are some of the important lessons we can all take from the top work teams around the world.
Lesson 1: Great work teams care.
Imagine that you are placed in a team with three of your closest friends. You have many fond memories and years of friendship.
Imagine you’re in a team of three people you don’t know. While you might have met one person at the water fountain, you haven’t had any interaction with your coworkers.
Which team do care more? It’s obvious that you care more about the first team. It shouldn’t be that way. You should care about both.
It may seem a stretch to say that a team made up of old friends can be compared to a group of strangers. However, you must have compassion for your teammates regardless of your relationship with them.
Both you and your teammates benefit from emotional involvement in their well-being. Everyone performs better when they care about their fellow members.
Jia Hu and Robert Liden conducted a study to prove that caring improves performance.
Hu and Liden defined prosocial people as “givers who are more concerned about maximizing the benefits of others than calculating their own returns. They are more likely to be successful in the long-term.”
This highlights one of the biggest barriers to pro-social teams: calculating individual returns. We don’t think as emotionally when we focus on what’s in it just for us. We think more like a machine.
If we place more emphasis on helping others than ourselves, we will see an improvement in both our performance and that of those around us.
Lesson #2: Perfect teams spend quality time together (Pixar).
This seems like a natural outgrowth of the first lesson and it’s just equally important.
Imagine a bank call center that is struggling with productivity. Alex Pentland from MIT believes that everyone should have their coffee break at the exact same time. Employees would be more relaxed if they socialized.
Although this idea is contrary to traditional workplace theory, it worked. Because they were able to take a break from work and make genuine human connections, the call center employees performed better than ever before.
Pentland’s mass socialization solution helped workers shift their mindsets so that even small talk can be a welcome distraction from a busy workday.
John Donne wrote that “No man can be an island.” This statement still rings true today. A successful team will have group socialization as a key quality. It is important that everyone feels comfortable and welcome, and that no one feels isolated or alone.
Steve Jobs chose to put the bathrooms in the central part of Pixar’s headquarters when he was designing it. Employees were intensely grateful.