I have been a part of a team since I was four years old. It’s been a number of different types of teams. However, I’ve spent over 20 years playing competitive hockey, and I am now a part of a team within Epitec. Whether on the ice or in the office, all of the successful teams I have been on have a few key attributes in common.
Successful hockey teams and successful workplace teams have one main commonality: they start with a strong leader. It can be a manager, coach, captain, or company owners, but this is where it all begins. For a team to be successful, a great leader is one who steps up and rallies the group toward a common goal. The team needs to believe in and trust the leadership and its actions. The leader is there to inspire and demonstrate by example. This is also a resource you can leverage and count on in tough situations.
All the members of any team need to agree upon a common goal, which they contribute towards. If the team doesn’t work together towards their determined goal, individuals may find themselves disengaged or make their own agenda. This makes teamwork difficult and usually, ineffective. Every member should work concurrently towards one goal. Leaders should make sure each team member is on track for this goal.
A team is made up of individuals that have a combination of skillsets, each that complement one another. Without each of these individuals, a team is not as strong. A hockey team can’t be made up of all goal scorers or all role players – there needs to be harmonizing positions to win a game. Similarly, in the workplace, there are different personality types, backgrounds, and knowledge that brings a team together and balances out the whole.
Open communication is crucial to the overall success. Both positive and constructive feedback is important – it allows the individual or team to understand what areas they need to improve upon, or what areas they excel in that they should continue that work. Being aware of areas of improvement is critical in order to progress, and this kind of progression makes teams successful.
Overall, these four attributes can be found in most teams. However, great teams excel in all of these areas. Continuing to look at where your team is at, self-evaluate for any deficiencies and improving upon those areas will ensure your team is headed in the right direction. Think about what you bring to the table within your team. What have you contributed? How have you been leveraged? Who can you look to for guidance within your team?
”A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” –Wayne Gretzky