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Core Team Competencies – What Are They? – Oxford School of Business & Management

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Core Team Competencies – What Are They

Core Team Competencies – What Are They?

Before we look at characteristics and competencies of good teams, it’s worth considering what makes a bad team.  In Paul Lencioni’s book: ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ (2002), he states that the 5 dysfunctions are:

  • Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust – The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.
  • Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict – The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict.
  • Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment – The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.
  • Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability – The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.
  • Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results – The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

Paul Lencioni also states that a team’s willing to address the five dysfunctions can experience the following benefits, that of high performing, cohesive teams:

  • Are comfortable asking for help, admitting mistakes and limitations and take risks offering feedback
  • Tap into one another’s skills and experiences.
  • Avoid wasting time talking about the wrong issues and revisiting the same topics over and over again because of lack of buy-in.
  • Make higher quality decisions and accomplish more in less time and fewer resources.
  • Put critical topics on the table and have lively meetings.
  • Align the team around common objectives.
  • Retain star employees.

In addition, research has shown that high performing teams (HPT’s) have:

  • Common Purpose: they are clear on the goals, aims and objectives
  • Clear Roles: everyone knows their strengths, weakness, limitations and powers. Just like a football team, the defenders defend, the goal keeper protect the goal, and attackers attack.
  • Accepted Leadership: this is not always the ‘official leader’, empowering others to take command, being more suited for that task is better.
  • Effective Processes: everyone knows what they can and can’t’ do, what they are responsible for – so there is not overlap or repetition.
  • Solid Relationships: communication, motivation, harmonious working
  • Excellent Communication: people have the freedom to talk up the line, side-wards and downwards, and talk openly when needed.

This was amplified through research at MIT’s Human Dynamics laboratory, in 2011, they identified the group dynamics that high-performing teams share. They include:

  • Openness: Everyone on the team both talks and listens. No one dominates the conversation.
  • Communication: The interactions are energetic with a lot of face-to-face communication.
  • Connections: People connect with one another directly – not just with or through the team leader.
  • Open communication channels: Side conversations are carried on within the team.
  • Network: People from time to time go outside the group and bring relevant outside information back in.
  • Equality: Individual contributions/talents are less important than successful communication patterns.

So we can see that the competencies of  building core team competencies also demonstrate that the leader doesn’t always ‘lead’ in the traditional sense, but will act in some cases as facilitator to make the environment and conditions conducive to team growth.

Unlike a ‘work group’,  each and every one of the team members realises that they are a symbiotic unit, and not made up of separate isolated individuals – that communication flows upwards, downwards, sideways and all around.  There is a feeling that they are all in this together.

Example:

There are various accounts of this following story on the web, but the underlying message is clear.

During the 2014 World Cup, there was immense pressure and expectation on the countries who had their ‘stratospheric star’ players – Messi (Argentina), Ronaldo (Portugal), Suarez (Uruguay), etc. to win the Cup.  However, Germany, had no real ‘star’ players to mention.  It was tweeted (originally wrongly, and some report by Stephen Gerrard – England Captain) that: ‘Argentina had Messi, Uruguay had Suarez, and Portugal had Ronaldo – but Germany had a team!’

This story reinforces and demonstrates the power and effect that a real ‘team’ has in winning and that one individual does not make a team.  Germany went on and won the Cup.

A team that is unified, strong and working in harmony is able to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency.  However, it takes strong core team competencies, leadership and management to achieve this. OSBM’s training course on ‘Building Core Team Competencies: Engagement, Collaboration, Innovation, Trust and Empowerment’ has been specifically designed to explore these areas through practical, highly-interactive sessions and utilising key experiential development.  This will lead to delegates able to comprehensively build and develop core team building competencies to lead and manage a team.

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