Marks of effective teams

Marks of effective teams

Once you have the composition of a team figured out, there are key marks of effective teams which can indicate whether the team will actually be successful.

Effective teams are truly cohesive.

Patrick Lencioni describes a truly cohesive team culture as having members who:

1. Trust one another.

2. Engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.

3. Commit to decisions and plans of action.

4. Hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.

5. Focus on the achievement of collective results.


Effective teams have a clear purpose.

This includes a vision, mission, and action plan.

Effective teams have many informal aspects.

Humour and playfulness ease tension and encourage creativity. Mental models and thinking processes are frequently examined and challenged.

Effective teams are participative.

In the one mode, hot teams are often characterized by loud, excited voices and laughter; with listening sometimes suffering as individuals talk over each other. Ideas are generated at great speed.

In the other mode, there is active listening and passionate engagement rather than noisy excitement.


Effective teams have members who are good listeners.


Effective teams have civilized disagreement in an intellectually compelling atmosphere.



There are several practical considerations to bear in mind.

The outputs need to meet the expectations of those the team is serving. If not, the result can sometimes be demotivating.

It is important to have a facilitator in a team who ensures that the spirits are always high. In a team setting, the intimacy can make it easier for demoralization to spread easily.

It is also important that members are not only satisfied with their output but also with their overall experience of being part of the team.

Teams sometimes suffer when too much emphasis placed on results as opposed to team processes and group dynamics.

The team experience needs to be genuine; teams sometimes fail because they have been adopted as a fad.

In many cases team leaders fail in that they do not take lessons learnt from one team and transfer them to another. There is therefore no coherence between various teams and sources for learning then become limited to the group.



What is a key application point from these thoughts that you can take to your team and see an immediate difference if implemented?

In the spirit of building strong cross-functional teams, is there anyone from another team that you can commit to pass on this information to?