The true test of an effective team is one where the members operate as a self-managing team. The leader allows the members on the team to establish teamwork, modify its own work processes, and serve as a communication channel to the rest of the organization.

I followed up with one of our customers to see first-hand what a very successful team looked and felt like. Here is their story on what they do to excel as a team.

The High Performance Team

This team consisted of eighteen members that work in a manufacturing facility in Texas. Their working conditions are not the best. The night I observed them they were performing a hot and dirty job and on top of that they worked third shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.). Their pay is not the best and the product they were making had an awful smell.

The newest member to the team was there for two days, and the oldest for over twenty one years.

Many members of the team had not had much training prior to operating their equipment and several were new to the operational process.

The reason I know this information is because when you have the opportunity to see how a team really works, you want to uncover their secrets. So, I was looking for answers.

Describing This High-Performing Team’s Success

As I stayed and interacted with the team members to find out what makes them tick, they described to me their criteria for team development.

They said, “Each member has a good time, is very much in tune with each other, has a great sense of team spirit, believes in their purpose, and runs the operation and shift without a formal leader in the middle of things. We have a “shared philosophy”.

As a result, they are the top performers out of 156 other teams that perform the same duties throughout the U.S.

How Did This Team Arrive?

The majority of team members that had been there over a year described how the team developed. They first attended our team development course together a year ago. Why were they offered the training? Because they were the problem children at this particular location.

In the training session, they were allowed to challenge, question, resolve conflicts, and discuss with their supervisor about his old school management style. As a result, the team members left the training with specific plans and commitments to develop into a team with the support of their supervisor and the organization as long as they continued to make the numbers.

Their hard work and effort paid off as they became known as “the stars” of the company. They were singled out as “special” compared to the other 156 teams. They were motivated by the positive attention, the empowerment, and the pride that goes along with being the best.

As a result of this experience, it is clear this team developed out of a clear understanding to compete against the goal instead of each other. This team has stayed self-driven and self-directed as a result of being allowed to become more than their “individual selves”.

How Can Teamwork Succeed?

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and founder of the About Leaders community. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Success course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.