All the most successful teams throughout any line of work have a number of core elements for them to succeed and excel within a safe and challenging environment. Being part of a team can help creativity, provide challenge and help transform ideas into work with measurable outcomes using expertise and experience that may not be achieved working alone.
But what are pieces of the puzzle that make teams great? How did Alex Ferguson keep getting the best out of his Manchester United teams throughout the year? How did the Beatles become the fab four and arguably the greatest band of all time? Or how did the Apollo 11 team work together to know that humans would succeed where others had failed and walk on the moon?
Well the most common piece of the puzzle is people. There is no “one man team”, and every person involved has shared characteristics that once mixed together with other members can build effective and high performing teams.
Now these characteristics are worded differently throughout numerous articles, books and columns but they all have the same principals:
- Common understanding of what the team want to achieve
- Trust and respect
- Support others
The last listed characteristic might be a surprise but imagine a group of people all together concentrating on achieving something special with no opportunity to laugh and joke. Could this put into question a team member's commitment? Or on the flip side could this be detrimental and crush creativity?
The class clown or the joker of the pack may be seen as disruptive in a non-cohesive environment, but as US president Dwight D.Eisenhower said “a sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”
Appropriate humour can be seen as the invisible glue to aid enjoyment and performance by taking people out of an intensive situation required to achieve, with a simple quip or an observational joke. This may relieve tension and reduce stress that may be causing issues to the team at a given time.
There are definitely people in our team who this applies to. Whether a comment like “you know me I’m not very technical” or “I say it how it is” or even a gesture of one index finger up in the air is enough for streams of giggles and off-shoot comments that can brighten the darkest of tasks.
So take a minute and think back to when you were part of a successful team, because everyone has been in one at one stage of their life. Whether it be sports, work, community based or even having a social point of reference, the characteristics above would have formed part of that team.
And reflect further...was there humour at some point? In fact I still think you could remember a time being part of a team which raises a smile or a memory that forms a chuckle, and understand how important that element was and still is to a successful team.