Working Effectively in Groups

Discover the core standards of a successful team

Teamwork makes the dream work.

The outcome of collaborative work can be very impactful. In fact, the process can be both fun and motivating especially when competing against other teams and/or groups. I can assure you there will be challenges within your group however with the right strategies your team will succeed.

Five key principles of a team

  1. Commitment
  2. Trust
  3. Accountability
  4. Conflict
  5. Collective Results


Every team member must embrace the mission/goal at hand. Why is this important? Throughout the process you all will encounter some degree of difficulty which may cause individual frustration as well as strife amongst members within your group. Nevertheless, if you all are dedicated to the goal everyone will remain engaged and contribute their best effort. Here are a couple of ways to obtain buy-in from your team:

  • Communicate the mission/goal with clarity. It is very important for you (or a teammate) to be able to articulate the vision. Adapt the goal to your team. Highlight the values of the mission so that members of your team may identify with something larger than themselves. Use motivating and inspirational terms. When discussing who’s in charge use terms that include your team (i.e. We have the ability…, Our job is to…, It is up to us to….).

  • Speak as to “why” the mission is worthwhile. Explain who/what will benefit from the mission. Expound on what makes it special by sharing how it is different from others and how it will affect the present and the future


Believe that each person within your group has the established mission at best interest. When your team builds trust it will improve – in phases – group communication, participation, and ease the uncertainty that accompanies the process of delegating individual task. Admitting weaknessess and mistakes, offering and accepting apologies without hesitation, as well as welcoming questions and input about your area of expertise are all characterisitics of a trusting team. At times this will not be easy however give your team mates the benefit of the doubt before you pass judgement. Remember, you all are vested in the mission!


All members of the team are equally responsible for the teams growth. Below is a list of characteristics of both accountable and irresponsible team members:


  • Comfortable receiving feedback about both major and small aspects of your job - welcomes micro-management because you understand it develops you and improves team results.
  • Ensures low performing members feel pressure to improve
  • Addresses potential problems without hesitation
  • Avoids excess bureaucracy
  • Calls out insubordinate behaviors that effect the team


  • Get irritated when approached regarding minor concerns and mistakes - you feel "micro-management" is a bad thing.
  • Ignores non-compliant behavior and poor performance.
  • Complete minimum daily work and doesn't calculate how the present work effects the outcome
  • Leaves all discipline to team leader or sole disciplinarian
  • Probably hasn't bought-in to vision


Disagreements among your team is to some extent healthy. It is evidence that your team is concerned about results plus these differences serve as a platform for critical matters to be exposed and discussed. The absence of quarrels is also considered to be a cause of boring meetings. Be passionate about your work and voice your concerns. This communication will encourage lively and interesting meetings. Conflict can also extract ideas from those who are typically reserved or soft spoken. Conflict does not have to end in agreement – a concsensus is not a necessity – but it must come bring the team back into focus of the mission. Patrick Lencioni encourages teams to “disagree and commit”.

Collective Results

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “There is no ‘I’ in team!”. This implies that regardless of how good (or bad) a team member performs, the ultimate measure of success is the outcome of “the team”. This way of thinking minimizes individualistic behavior. It requires humility and integrity. Your team will benefit greatly from those who set aside their personal interests for the good of the team.

Recommended books about teamwork

Additional resources

Are you wondering if you are an effective team member? Choose the link below....