Building Effective Teams In The Workplace: What Characteristics Do They Share?

A team that goes the distance works as a cohesive unit and understands the company goals. Does your team possess these nine characteristics to set it up for success?

Building Effective Teams In The Workplace: What Characteristics Do They Share?

Top hiring teams understand the characteristics of an effective team. From the moment they write a job description to attract the right applicant, they are focused not only on the candidate in question, but also on how they will fit into, and bolster, the team they’ll ultimately be joining.

After all, when you look beyond their skills and competencies, each candidate you screen and evaluate has a unique personality that they bring to the table. Analysts differ from Diplomats, and Sentinels come with a different set of quirks than Explorers. It’s important to bear this in mind when you build your teams.

However, much like with a good painting, the process of finding harmony and balance starts with the broad strokes. In this case, the broad strokes are nine characteristics that epitomise a team that will go the distance.

9 Characteristics Of An Effective Team That Will Go the Distance

1. Understand Company & Project Goals

Successful teams comprise a group of individuals who understand, and more importantly, support the goals of their company and the goals of each project they work on. As such, team leaders have to be skilled at breaking down the objectives of each endeavour they undertake and ensuring that everyone pulls in the same direction from the word go.

2. Comfortable In Their Roles

What Do Happy Teams Have In Common

Each team member should have absolute clarity about their responsibilities and how they fit into the whole. Additionally, they need to respect their co-workers and their roles.

The particular composition of a team will vary from one business to the next, but, in general, it consists of a leader who is supported by workers and strategists. Successful teams understand and value these balanced ecosystems.

3. Play By Mutually Determined Goals

For a team to be effective, rules need to be in place around communication, mutual respect, delivery times, contingencies, etc. Vagueness leads to misunderstandings, which lead to wasted time and effort, followed by failure.

Strong teams take the time to lay the ground rules right from the start in no uncertain terms and then proceed to follow it.

4. Feel Safe to Communicate Freely

Winning teams communicate all the time, and not just about project goals. Take any high-functioning team, observe the way they work, and you will immediately be able to tell that these individuals feel safe to share their ideas (and receive constructive criticism!) from like-minded contemporaries. They know it will be met with support and that they can count on their teammates to discuss it frankly.

5. Loyal & Trusting

Team coherance

The upshot of all this open communication is that team members come to trust one another explicitly. In turn, this leads to solid loyalty. If you ever wanted a recipe for a strong, cohesive unit, this would be it. Trusting, loyal spaces yield healthy competition and creative collaboration.

6. Share Accountability Willingly

Members of teams that go the distance are willing and able to share accountability. When things go wrong, these stalwart co-workers don't scatter to the four corners of the earth, leaving a fall guy to take the punch. Instead, they band together to support one another while they devise a solution and find a workable way of implementing it ASAP.

7. Make Decisions As A Unit

The traditional idea of top-down decision-making may work for certain businesses, but in most cutting-edge companies you will find that there is a more lateral approach. The leader is more likely to consult with their team before making any decisions, getting input from everyone and ensuring that there is buy-in from everyone before rolling it out.

8. Flourish Under Bold Leadership

However, that is not to say that the importance of a strong, bold leader should be underestimated. The best kind of leader is a competent, enthusiastic, charismatic individual who doesn't seek out the limelight to boost their ego. Instead, they prefer to hold space for everyone on their team to shine in their own right. They guide rather than instruct, and empower rather than overpower.

9. Get Along In ‘Real Life’

Coworkers Socialising

When teams have a mutual purpose and work together well, they tend to form a natural bond that often extends beyond the workplace. This is why you will find that one of the characteristics of an effective team is that its members are willing to hang out with one another even when they aren’t contractually obligated to do so.


The characteristics of an effective team tend to remain the same across all industries. These A-teams understand both company and project goals, and are comfortable in their roles.

They play by mutually determined rules, feel safe to communicate freely, are loyal and trusting, and share accountability. Additionally, they make decisions as a unit, flourish under bold leadership, and tend to get along outside of the confines of work.