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What Kind of Team Are You On?

By Ken and Lee Estridge

What Kind of Team Are You On?

Whether you're a team leader or a team member, it's important to understand what kind of team you're on. Is your team a nice, fierce, or bold team? Are time, energy, and money being wasted on internal conflict? Do you have tools available to help you deal with conflict?

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

According to Brian Cole-Miller, author of, "Nice Teams Finish Last!" nice teams survive by avoiding confrontation. They're more concerned with getting along than with producing the highest possible performance. When nice teams fail to perform, they often become fierce teams.

No Blood No Glory

Fierce teams focus on results regardless of the impact on relationships. They think that it's not useful to praise people and that only criticism is helpful. Clients love their ability to get things done even though the team may suffer from burnout. Fierce teams don't inspire loyalty or bring out the best in people over time.

Bold is the New Smooth

Bold teams, by contrast, deal with conflict effectively and face issues without attacking each other. Each individual clearly understands their role on the team and how their behavior impacts team performance. They trust and respect each other, and they understand the strengths and challenges of each team member. Bold teams share common values and are focused on their collective results rather than on their individual turf wars and selfish interests. They invite dialogue and listen carefully to others' opinions, and they're open to being vulnerable and changing their positions on issues as new information is presented. Bold teams enjoy working together towards a common goal and are committed to holding each other accountable for producing great results.

How Do I Know?

Here are a few questions that will help you figure out the type of team you're on:

  1. Does your team avoid conflict?
  2. Are there people on your team who are unhappy with other team members' contributions, but are afraid to bring up their concerns?
  3. Does critical feedback dramatically outweigh positive feedback?
  4. Is your team committed to producing results regardless of the impact on people?
  5. Do people trust each other and have mutual respect for each other's point of view?
  6. Can team members be vulnerable with each other, admit mistakes, and ask for help?
  7. Does your team love working together?

Sounds Great, Now What?

Here are three steps that you can take to help your team evolve into a bold team:

  1. Recognize that there's a problem.
  2. Make a commitment to do something about it.
  3. Get help. For example, organize a series of offsite meetings led by an experienced facilitator.

Great Companies Have Great Teams

Work will be fun, the energy will soar, and bottom line results will improve when your team starts working together more effectively.

Warm regards from Team Ken and Lee

Recent team exercise facilitated by Lee.