Management Corner

Team Characteristics: Part Two


Last week, we covered three team characteristics: straight talk, managing conflict and honoring commitments. This article includes three more characteristics from chapter nine in Mel Hensey's book, "Collective Excellence: Building Effective Teams."

These six team characteristics are critical because they are foundational in giving a team, organization or family, stability, trust and a sense of order, meaning and purpose. So many local, national and global events are crazy-making and disheartening that we need a few clues and directives to establish a sense of sanity, common sense and stability. Here are the next three:

1. Permeable boundaries are about roles, job descriptions and who is responsible for what. It is about the essence of team spirit and attitudinal dynamics feeding actions.

It requires absolute focus, intention and attention on being a team. Hensey shares this powerful image: "For a group to perform at the high-performing team stage, members will be helping where they are needed and asking for help when they need it. Members will also be looking for loose ends that could otherwise fall between the cracks." Permeable boundaries create a team of "we" with no "I's" or egos involved.

2. Affirming and celebrating are two of the most powerful activities that solidify, energize and inspire a sustainable team. Here are a few golden and sparkling quotes from the book about affirming:

• "What is affirmed will be repeated."

• "That which is un-affirmed will become extinct."

• "Affirmation is best when it follows soon after the work."

• "Be sincere and specific about what it is."

• "Don't affirm everything, or it will lose its value."

Regarding celebrations, make it simple. No-cost or low-cost events that are fun and comfortable can often be the best. The point of celebrating is the team. It's an opportunity to enjoy being together to glow and grow a unique synergy. The boss needs to express celebratory words of thanks and praise to the whole group during the event. Here are a couple of actual events the book identifies:

• "Pizza and soft drinks at the close of work at the office, shop or a home. (Taverns are poor substitutes.)"

• "Breakfast on the boss, before working hours, at a local restaurant with everyone at the same table."

3. Collective wisdom happens naturally when a team learns what collaboration is all about. Put quite simply by Hensey, "Members build on one another's ideas and contributions, rather than competing or ignoring one another's offerings." Collective wisdom is created when the team is having fun, working hard together and ignites the fire of W.I.T. - Wisdom, Integrity and Trust.

When we authentically work as a team, we become a family of the human kind. I strongly encourage you to share and discuss with your team and family existing questions, concerns and troubling emotions and find ways to build on these six characteristics. It will help us to be of support to each other and our community and help create the leadership, teamwork and transformational actions that manifest wholeness, strength and a healthy humanity.

Bernie Linnartz, of Empowerment Experts, is a consultant, coach and facilitator of individuals, teams, families and organizations. Comments, questions and suggested topics are welcome. Cell (575) 770-4712 or email