Want An Effective Team? Get ‘Soft’, Not ‘Smart’!

13Apr Want An Effective Team? Get ‘Soft’, Not ‘Smart’!

What makes a great team? What do you mean as a Sheffield United fan I’d have no idea?!

Well, maybe I don’t, but researchers from MIT, Carnegie and Union College certainly do! A new report from them has highlighted some ‘key factors’ in successful teams and they make interesting reading for anyone leading, managing or simply being part of a team! 

The researchers placed nearly 700 people in a mix of teams and got them to work together on playing games, analysing problems and solving puzzles. They analysed the teams, the individuals themselves, the ‘mix’, what they did, how they did it and the results they achieved.  

Here’s a summary of the key findings:

  • Don’t Be Clever! The average intelligence of the teams was not releated to performance!
  • Be A ‘Softie’! Good communications and understanding between team members was key. It was all about reading and responding to other people’s feelings and emotions. In fact, the teams with individuals who had these ‘soft’ skills were the ones that outperformed the others.
  • Get Involved! ‘Strong’ individuals don’t always create strong performances. In fact the teams that involved everyone equally performed better than the others.
  • Add The Woman’s Touch! The teams that included women performed better than the all male teams!

So what does this mean for you and your team? Well, obviously I’m not saying ‘fire’ a couple of guys and bring in a woman!

But, some questions – How good are you at:

  • Listening and reading others?
  • Engaging your people (particularly the ‘quiet’ ones!)
  • Encouraging everyone to ‘get involved’?

and, crucially….

  • Creating a culture that encourages everyone in the team to do these things too?

So, to get things started, why not ask your team?

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