The Hard Truth about Successful Teams

By Rene Santana on August 3, 2019

Want a successful team? You have to talk to people. You have set your assumptions aside. You have to, at all costs, listen to everyone’s input. Sound easy? It can be after practicing such actions. Are there going to be some dumb ideas? Yes, but unless everything you say is utter gold, you have to be okay with just listing all your thoughts and letting others do likewise. The space to speak freely is the best thing your team can have. Not just speak whatever, but also understand how each person’s idea can help benefit the task at hand.

Image by luvmybry from Pixabay

The most significant thing to consider is the thoughts and opinions of everyone else in the group. If everyone in the group feels safe to share, then nothing is stopping the group from striking gold. Seriously. The most successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and hustlers win at life because they’ve failed more times than they count on their hands and feet. But whereas those successful individuals had supporters from the side, teams have each other to count on. To put an official name to this team trait, it’s called Psychological Safety. As Michael Schneider puts it in his article on successful teams,

“[I]magine a different setting. A situation in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. That’s psychological safety.”

Yes, we have our differences. But once aside, teams can produce some of the best products out in the market. And yes, it does take being nice, or at the very least, respectful. Chances are, everyone in the group thinks their idea is better than everyone else’s and the rest of the group has no good ideas. If this is not the case, consider it a blessing and make sure you take full use of it.

I speak from experience when I say that this space is crucial to any successful team. Because communication is key, I always made sure to ask everyone their thoughts on a task, find even ground, and run with it, repeating this process until we nailed the goal. Sure, our ideas failed, but our team learned to persevere and that there is another crucial key to successful teams.

Perhaps you work retail, fast-food, or hospitality. If so, it may hurt a little to listen to everyone’s idea, but I’m sure afterward, you’ll see productivity skyrocket. And when you finally enter your career, you can proudly state how you improved team productivity, regardless of the working conditions.

Listening is hard. I didn’t say it was easy. But it is worth every painstaking second. If you want another useful skill to have, check out my article on teaching!

CWU Graduate | Writer | Editor @WaldorfPress | Favors Tech, UX, and the Serial Comma.

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