One of the hardest questions we face as managers is whether we’re actually doing a good job. Surveys like this give us some insights into the characteristics of other well-run teams which we can then compare to our own.
Here’s some highlights:
Comfortable showing emotions: whilst not unexpectedly the survey found that higher-perfoming teams communicated more often than others, more interesting were the types of communication. These teams appeared more comfortable expressing both positive and negative emotions to their teammates. They were more likely to tell jokes and tease their colleagues, but also to use sarcasm, complain and use curse words with each other. So should you swear more in meetings to raise performance? Probably fuck no. It's more about getting your team to a point where they know each other well enough that they're comfortable expressing themselves honestly with one another.
Frequently sharing appreciation: people in high-performing teams received nearly twice as much appreciation from their teammates, and twice as much from their managers, than those in other teams. This ties in with last week’s piece on the importance of compliments and praising our teams more.
Working hard but with balance: 53% of those in high-performing teams strongly agreed that their teammates ‘pulled their weight’ compared to 23% for other teams. However, they were also twice as likely to believe that their teammates valued work-life balance. This survey suggests that the best teams don’t have a ‘win at all costs’ mentality, but rather one of working hard yet respecting each others’ boundaries.
Taking time to check-in: 65% of high-performing teams started meetings by checking-in on their teammates rather than jumping straight into the work, compared to 42% of other teams. This chimes with other research we’ve seen about the importance of small talk to positive meetings.
More Social activities: high-performing teams showed that they were more likely to engage in a variety of non-work activities. They grabbed tea or coffee more often (35% vs 24%), had alcoholic drinks (24% to 15%) and even discussed books together (23% to 15%). Does this conclusively prove going to the bar raises team performance? Yes it does.
Clarity on how they contribute: teammates in the best teams had more clarity on three vectors: how their work related to their team’s goals; how their team’s work lined up with their company’s mission; and how their company contributed to making the world a better place. This is echoed in plenty of other management literature, and as we recently examined, appears to be of rising importance to employees