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What Type of Team are You?

We do so much of our work these days in teams. And while every team has its unique challenges, specific types of teams face common challenges. By understanding what type of team(s) you are a part of, you can address those issues and help your team become high performing.

Three common types of teams based on theory and practice

We drew upon research from thought leaders like Katzenbach, Smith, Larson and LaFasto, as well as our own experience working with different teams. In general, there are three types of teams commonly found in today’s workplace. For each, we’ve identified the challenges they might face and provided strategies to address them.

As you browse the profiles below, try to identify what type of team(s) you work with, keeping in mind that it might be a hybrid.

Tips for Decision-making Team’s Success

Two major challenges decision-making teams faces are:

  • Delving into the core of the problem and bringing everyone together while continuing to move forward at a reasonable pace.

  • Working effectively with other teams who may be informing or implementing the decisions or solutions.

It’s easy to get lost in all the data and complexity, continually seeking more information in order to satisfy everyone on the team. Be sure to create a shared understanding of the situation, acknowledge each person’s own biases or assumptions up front, and determine what information is required, not just desired, in order to make the best decision possible.

When communicating with other teams, whether to request information or share a decision, it is useful to explain the rationale underlying your message. You may find that by sharing “the why”, you’ll get better information as input into your decision.

Tips for Creative Team’s Success

Two major challenges creative teams face are:

  • Encountering creativity killers such as limited resources or lack of multiple perspectives

  • Dealing with organizational constraints such as policies and procedures that might slow things down or impact cross-functional collaboration

Creative teams thrive on their ability to be, well, creative. So anything that hinders this ability will seriously impact the team’s success. Some creativity killers, such stale thinking and lack of diverse perspectives, are internal to the team. To address these, the team needs to develop a positive culture. Norms for brainstorming sessions that encourage the “yes, and” approach and “how might we” thinking help individuals feel comfortable contributing their most creative ideas.

Other creativity killers are external to the team. By carving out a separate space, both physically and mentally, the team can maintain its autonomy. Seeking input from a variety of disciplines is a great way to both bring in fresh perspectives and also avoid the vortex of “this is how it’s always been done.”

Tips for Execution Team’s Success

The main challenge execution teams face is:

  • Maintaining the highest quality while moving quickly in an evolving environment.

Sports teams are a great example of the power of role clarity. Each person has specific duties assigned only to him or her as well as shared responsibilities that every team member has.  This balance of knowing specifically what is “mine” and what is “shared” enables each person to contribute while minimizing what falls through the cracks.

Just as with sports teams, the work context is dynamic. As one person moves, the others must respond. In the office, our “moves” are often known only to us. By utilizing real-time technology tools and establishing clear processes that encourage open, honest communication, we can keep our teammates better informed. This enables everyone to be agile to all the changes and trust that your collectively on the path to results.

What type of teams you are a part of? Any of the challenges resonates with you? Please share your stories in the comments section below.



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