High Performing Teams [cont.]
I’ve written before about the vital role of conversation in enabling groups to transform from average to high performing teams (as in this article: Google’s Insight Into What Makes Teams Productive). Yet it seems to be a subject that bears repeating, given the ongoing challenges business encounters in improving the success, and enjoyment, of team efforts.
Looking back to the article The New Science of Building Great Teams in the April 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review, the authors describe an ideal team player as follows:
We can also measure individuals against an ideal. In both productivity-focused and creativity-focused teams, we have discovered the data signature of what we consider the best type of team member. Some might call these individuals “natural leaders.” We call them “charismatic connectors.” Badge data show that these people circulate actively, engaging people in short, high-energy conversations. They are democratic with their time—communicating with everyone equally and making sure all team members get a chance to contribute. They’re not necessarily extroverts, although they feel comfortable approaching other people. They listen as much as or more than they talk and are usually very engaged with whomever they’re listening to. We call it “energized but focused listening.” The best team players also connect their teammates with one another and spread ideas around. And they are appropriately exploratory, seeking ideas from outside the group but not at the expense of group engagement. In a study of executives attending an intensive one-week executive education class at MIT, we found that the more of these charismatic connectors a team had, the more successful it was.
Although not a perfect fit, this is a reasonable description of a good conversationalist. Once again, the importance of a company’s people to build a conversation-based infrastructure of relationships is core to that company’s success. How are you creating a vibrant conversational culture? How are you leveraging the principles and practices of conversation to stimulate high performance in your teams?