Five Characteristics of High-Performing Teams

What are the characteristics of high performing teams? This tool, drawn from the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni, provides you a quick look at what high performing teams really do.

High Performing Teams

Here are the five characteristics of highly effective teams:

  1. Attention to results: Team members regularly monitor their progress toward achieving the results. They don’t gloss over their performance, but talk about it.
  2. Accountability: Team members hold each other accountable for their performance. When someone under-performs, the team tells them immediately and in direct, honest terms.
  3. Commitment: Everyone adopts a common goal or set of goals and commits to achieving them. Goals are defined simply enough to be easily grasped, specific enough to be actionable.
  4. Creative conflict: People ask tough questions of one another and challenge each others assumptions. They probe an argument until they are satisfied.
  5. Trust: Team members open up to each other. They admit their mistakes, weaknesses, concerns without fear of reprisal.

Dysfunctional Teams

Here are the five characteristics of dysfunctional teams:

  1. Status and ego: Individual team members seek out recognition and attention at the expense of results. They dismiss the monitoring process as “unimportant.”
  2. Low standards: When people fail to follow through on their commitments, people let it slide out of a feeling that they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings or “it’s not my job” to manage them.
  3. Ambiguity: People are ambiguous in their commitment. Ownership of common goals is not shared. People have conflicting goals.
  4. Artificial harmony: People don’t engage in tough questioning because they fear it will hurt people’s feelings and impede group harmony. The result is buried conflict.
  5. Absence of trust: People protect themselves. They stay quiet. They don’t bring “undiscussables” to the team. They appear to be invulnerable.

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