5 Signs Your People are Operating as a Team

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Teamwork? What is it?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition:

The combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient:

eg.“my group has a good sense of teamwork”


Patrick Lencioni, Consultant, Author, Speaker, says:

Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.

So why is teamwork so important? And…. How do we know when we have achieved it?

Beverly’s 3 Keys to Great Teams & Teamwork

As a leader, Beverly always tries to develop 3 key things in teams:

  • To support one another by listening, sharing conundrums and freely giving ideas and advice.
  • To work for the whole team not the individual member.
  • To work towards success for all, not just our team but to support the success of all departments to achieve the aims of the whole organisation.

When she started working as a consultant, Beverly realised that the things she missed most were a confidence boost from peers and the benefit of the collective brain all working together for the good of a project or the organisation. Being passionate about her work and services she provides, Beverly found herself procrastinating over putting work out; finding herself wondering whether it was hitting the target audience, would people get it, was it easily understandable …. etc. Analysis Paralysis!

Fundamentally, Beverly was missing a team and people to bounce off! Missing the people who shared her passion; her excitement and enthusiasm about what she was working on. She missed the people who had previously cared enough to comment and provide feedback because they believed in her success as much as I did.

This got her thinking about successful teams and how you know when you’ve got a great team.

For Beverly 5 sure signs your people are operating as a team are demonstrated by:

  • their faith and confidence in one another,
  • they confidently challenge one another,
  • their engagement,
  • a willingness to stand up, and be counted,
  • their passion for achieving outcomes.

Let’s take a deeper look at these:

Faith and confidence.

What does that mean? It’s knowing those around you have your back. There’s no hidden agendas. We’re secure enough in our relationships to be honest, open and share.

  • Feeling secure enough to be honest about our limitations or to say when we don’t understand something,
  • able to be open about our thoughts and feelings without be judged and
  • willing to share because we know we’re invested in the same outcomes.

[i3 TeamDynamix can be critical in helping develop awareness and confidence within teams]

Challenging one another

It’s about feedback, holding one another to account, checking out thinking, ideas and decisions. We have healthy debate that comes from a place of mutual respect and personal responsibility to safeguard the individual, team and organisation. We challenge for personal clarity, to stimulate thoughts and ideas that promote thorough but quick and efficient problem-solving of business critical issues. Through our faith and confidence in one another we are able to be ourselves, honest, open and there is no point scoring or politics. The agenda for challenge comes from a place of positive intention to make whatever is being discussed a success, gain common understanding or to collaboratively engage in a problem or issue.


This is about supporting even if we don’t have the skills, know-how or capacity to be actively involved. It is about listening, challenging and having the confidence to give feedback. Taking personal responsibility for being aware even if we’re not directly involved, and contributing where we can. Here we have the depth of relationships to challenge and question. By engaging, we lose silo working, team members can confidently opt in or out of being directly involved whilst supporting members who are accountable. Team members are clear about priorities, responsibilities and the whole team are aligned to common objectives.

Willingness to stand up and be counted

This enables us to be accountable and hold one another to account. Because we have faith and confidence in one another, standing up and being counted comes from a place of encouragement and striving for holistic success – team success not personal success. For this to work though, standards have to be in place and clear. Whether they are behaviours, competencies, values, or KPIs, clarity is key. The team needs to meet regularly to review progress and discuss, debate and challenge. These teams truly collaborate, self-manage, poor performers are held to account by peers, and team members develop a mutual respect and are committed to delivering. Because they are engaged they are willing to stand up and be counted as they are more likely to deliver.

Passion for achieving outcomes.

Again this is a passion for the whole not the individual. Team members want the organisation, other teams, their team and their colleagues to succeed. They invest in the whole, engaging in the business, stepping out of their team to support common aims and objectives. Bonafide team players work collaboratively with other teams in the knowledge that one successful team does not make a business but working together does.

Do you recognise teams operating like this in your organisation? Yes! That’s fantastic, give us a call and we’d love to chat about how we can help you capitalise on this more.

No? But you’d love to achieve trust, collaboration, performance, and accountability – get in touch and let’s see how we can help.