5 Signs Your People are Operating as a Team

Posted: March 18, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Teamwork?  What is it?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition:

The combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient: 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 team work so important?  And…. How do we know when we have achieved it?

5 Signs Your People are Working as a Team

As a leader I always tried to develop 3 key things in my teams:

  1. To support one another by listening, sharing conundrums and freely giving ideas and advice.
  2. To work for the whole not the individual.
  3. 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.


So when I started working as a consultant the things I missed most was 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 my work and services I provide, I found myself procrastinating over putting work out.  I found myself wondering whether it was hitting the target audience, would people get it, was it easily understandable …. etc.

I was missing people to bounce off!  I was missing the people who shared my passion.  I missed sharing excitement and enthusiasm of what I was working on.  I missed the people who had previously cared enough to comment and provide feedback because they believed in our success as much as I did.

What I missed got me thinking about successful teams and how you know when you’ve got a great team.

5 signs your people are operating as a team


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

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

So 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. 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.

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.

Engagement – 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 but support members who are accountable.  Team members are clear about priorities, responsibilities and the whole team are aligned to common objectives.

Our willingness to stand up and be counted 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 me, to allow this to work 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.

And finally ….. a 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.  They are engaged in the business. They step out of their team to support common aims and objectives.  They 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 more.  No?  But you’d love to achieve trust, collaboration, performance, and accountability – get in touch and let’s see how we can help.  

Pin It

Tell us what you think...

Ducit Positivum Progressionem Fecte • Development Leads Positive Change