How Smart is Your Team?

The best leaders seek to hire people who are smarter than they are, have unique expertise and achieve tangible results. What many leaders fail to consider is how smart their key performers are as team members. The word “team” is used frequently in business.In reality, however, most teams function as a group of individual contributors rather as a tight-knit team with specific roles and complementary skills, all focused on a common purpose with mutual accountability. Even high performance teams who are aligned and deliver results may not be working as smart as they might. Making certain team members have four key components can ensure working teams achieve even more impressive results.
Recent studies examined differences between teams who were highly successful and those who were not.  Looking at both face-to-face and virtual teams, they discovered that successful teams scored consistently higher in their ability to use collective intelligence or high quality conversations among diverse people working together toward a common goal.

Current trends demonstrate that the smartest teams are ones that:

  1. Communicated a lot; encouraged open discussion and debate.
  2. Participated equally; contributions were more evenly distributed, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.
  3. Possessed good emotion-reading skills; team members kept track of interpersonal dynamics such as what other people felt, know and believe…this ability is often labeled Theory of the Mind.
  4. Included more women; interestingly, having equal numbers was less important than simply having more women on a team. This may be partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

Does this matter for your team? Yes. It matters because we expect our teams to be agile and effective in solving problems, establishing strategy and making decisions. Many of today’s teams work together for long periods of time, operate in complex, changing environments and have a diverse set of challenges and tasks to address. Leaders can help ensure that their teams are working “smart” by encouraging and facilitating in ways that help team members use their collective intelligence to adapt to changing situations.

Innolect helps organizations and leaders better understand “collective intelligence.” Download Innolect’s Smart Team Checklist  and contact us to learn more about how to create, manage and transform groups into smart teams that are more effective.

Click here to learn more about our Excursion Learning℠  events to Grow Teams and their Team Smarts.

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