In this article, you will learn about Right-Minded Teamwork’s (RMT) 5 Element framework. These elements show you how team leaders apply the essential characteristics of effective teamwork.
First, we will review important topics like the job of a team leader, common teamwork issues, and challenges team leaders face.
Next, we will look at each of the 5 Elements, or characteristics, of effective teamwork.
Finally, we will discuss how leaders and teammates successfully apply those characteristics in their team.
The Job of a Team Leader
On the surface, a team leader’s responsibilities appear straightforward: Show up, make sure everyone is on point, and keep the ball rolling in the right direction, so the team meets its goals.
But unlike team facilitators, who are usually brought in to solve a specific team issue or challenge, team leaders are always responsible for their teams.
When issues arise around communication styles, diversity, lack of trust among teammates, and decision-making, team leaders must work to problem-solve while also setting the group on the right path again.
Every day, team leaders work to manage projects and people, improve team motivation, and ensure progress towards shared team goals.
In short, if you’re a team leader, you always have a lot on your plate.
Characteristics of an Effective Team Leader
Team leaders know success starts with their team.
For that reason, effective team leaders are aware and engaged in the success of individual team members. They remain involved in the team’s daily activities and progress.
By recognizing problems early and offering insight, guidance, and direction, successful team leaders motivate everyone involved to stay focused on the group’s shared goals.
Without strong leaders, teams quickly fall apart. But with the right support and guidance, a unified team can easily exceed expectations.
When team leaders invest in their team by making sure each team member:
- understands the group’s purpose,
- willingly contributes knowledge and expertise,
- recognizes their contribution to the whole, and
- remains invested in reaching the team’s shared goals,
…the team will inevitably succeed.
Unfortunately, leading others is rarely straightforward, especially when you want your team to grow and evolve.
But… What if you had a proven process designed to deliver continuous team improvement?
With Right-Minded Teamwork’s 5 Element framework, you do.
This powerful model provides the key characteristics of effective teamwork – everything you need to learn, grow, apply and succeed.
“Right-Minded Teamwork separates the games of “team bonding” from the hard work of team building. [It is] real-world team building in a realistic, direct, and safe manner. Right-Minded Teamwork is also a support system, providing a rich array of resources.”
Patrick Carmichael, VP Best Practices Institute, Former Head Talent Management at Saudi Aramco.
Solve Interpersonal Problems & Work Issues.
Right-Minded Teamwork (RMT) is a unique, proprietary process to team building and team growth. I, Dan Hogan, consultant, and Certified Master Facilitator, developed this process throughout my 35-year career.
Above all, the RMT method is a non-confrontational, continuous improvement process. It is for small groups, large groups, and teams of all sizes.
Unlike many team-building approaches that fail to address real teamwork issues, RMT focuses on addressing underlying issues to produce real-world results.
Instead of leading teams through meaningless games and unproductive team exercises, RMT team leaders focus on acceptance, forgiveness, and self-adjustment among teammates.
As a result, Right-Minded Teamwork directly addresses and resolves the root cause of even the most difficult teamwork situations.
When team leaders focus on team building, continuous improvement is the natural result.
Facing potential shutdown from their credentialing agency after a significant performance decline, Joel Sorensen, Vice President of the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant in Minnesota, knew things needed to change. So he implemented Right-Minded Teamwork (specifically, the 3rd Element, Work Agreements) to support team member behavioral alignment with the company’s vision, mission, and values.
Shortly after establishing team Work Agreements, team members began to respectfully hold each other accountable, ensuring everyone was honoring their commitments. Individual team members began going above and beyond simply because they could and wanted to. Any conflicts that arose were addressed in a professional and supportive way.
“If you had asked me 2 months ago if the leadership team would reach this level of performance, my answer would have been emphatically, “NO!”
Now that we are on this road, I don’t ever want to go back.” ~ Joel Sorensen, Vice President, Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant
What Makes a Successful Team?
Good teams are often made up of great people. Great teams may also have great people on board.
But the strongest, most cohesive, high-performing teams are always more than the sum of their parts.
When teams accept each other, trust each other, and engage in open, communicative behavior, it encourages growth. Working powerfully and efficiently together like this, as a cohesive unit, success is inevitable.
If you are a team leader facing team issues, bringing your team to this level of success may feel impossible. But Right-Minded Teamwork’s 5 Element process can absolutely get you there.
“Togetherness and one-mindedness are key elements to an average team doing extraordinary things. [Right-Minded Teamwork] provides a roadmap to use in building a team that works.” ~ Alan Kleier, Former GM/VP, Chevron
Common Team Issues & Challenges
On their way to greatness, every team faces challenges. During times of growth and change, a team relies on its leader for guidance.
But managing a variety of roles, positions, and personality types while keeping everyone moving in the same direction, all in the face of change is no easy feat.
As they grow, teams often struggle with:
- Lack of trust among teammates
- Poor communication
- Missed deadlines
- Ineffective team meetings
- Lack of transparency
- Lack of participation
- Difficult or poor decision-making
- Absence of team cohesion
- Lack of team identity
If your team is experiencing some of these pains, take a deep breath.
All you need is a clear, straightforward methodology – like Right-Minded Teamwork – to help you produce results.
5 Characteristics of Effective Teamwork
Establishing Team Goals
The first two characteristics of RMT’s 5 Elements are two specific kinds of goals.
Goals provide direction and a way to measure progress and success.
Without clear goals, team members may falter, become distracted, or fail to fulfill their role on the team.
For this reason, goal setting is the very first step of the Right-Minded Teamwork process.
According to RMT, there are two types of goals every team should consider: business goals and psychological goals.
In order for a team to succeed, each team member must first know, understand, and choose to align with the team’s overarching performance goals. All team members must also know, understand, and choose to align with the team’s interpersonal, behavioral, and communication goals.
By clarifying and communicating both business and psychological goals, all team members are offered a level playing field. Recognizing the value of each team member to the whole allows each individual member to contribute fully and willingly, no matter their role.
3 Methods to Achieve Goals
In addition to goal setting, Right-Minded Teamwork offers three specific methods to achieve team goals. These three methods are the final three Elements in RMT’s 5 Element framework:
Work Agreements served to align teammate work behavior.
Team Operating System ensures effective teamwork, and
Right-Minded Teammate development naturally encourages personal growth.
Let’s take a look at each of these briefly right now.
Work Agreements are short documents, written collectively by the team, that explain how team members agree to work together. They guide the team by providing a set of clear expectations around team member performance and behavior.
The Team Operating System organizes a team’s processes and procedures. It defines roles, responsibilities, and how the team will reach its goals.
Right-Minded Teammates view their team’s success collectively. Everyone supports everyone else by doing their best, knowing group success requires a high level of individual performance from everyone involved. Thus, every teammate is committed to personal growth and development.
When teams unify around their business and psychological goals and apply these three methods to create effective teamwork, RMT’s 5 Element model can turn any team around.
What Is Effective Team Leadership?
Perhaps the most effective leadership style is coaching-style leadership, where a leader works to identify and support individual team members by recognizing their strengths.
Leaders who take a coaching approach also seek out strategies and solutions, like Right-Minded Teamwork, that will allow their team to work better together.
By establishing common goals, clarifying team member roles and responsibilities, and regularly recognizing the contribution of each team member to the team’s overall success, good leaders can set the stage for team growth and achievement.
But most importantly, leading in this way allows team leaders to embrace continuous team improvement.
Implementation Plan for Applying Characteristics of Effective Teamwork
There is no one right way to apply the 5 Element model or implement the key characteristics of effective teamwork. But here is a summary of one plan that has worked very well many times.
After assessing your team’s current performance, your team will identify two or three specific improvement opportunities.
During three interrelated workshops, spread out over six to twelve months, your team will create work plans or team agreements that ensure your team achieves the desired improvements.
Each of the workshops focuses on a specific portion of RMT’s 5 Element model for achieving effective teamwork.
Workshop #1 – Goals & Work Agreements
The initial workshop focuses on team cohesion and unity.
Under the guidance of the team leader or team facilitator, the team works together to clarify their psychological goals and to create one or more Work Agreements.
These psychologically-motivated Work Agreements allow team members to collectively agree and clearly state acceptable attitudes and team member behaviors. They also resolve any real teamwork issues, such as role disagreements or poor communication.
Teams often experience a boost in productivity and motivation from the first workshop alone because they can immediately see the effectiveness of the Right-Minded Teamwork model.
Workshop #2 – Goals & Operating System
Once psychological Work Agreements are in place, the team is ready for the second workshop. This event revolves around clarifying the team’s business goal.
Often, this goal is 100% customer satisfaction. If so, the team must agree on what this kind of success looks like for their clients.
With united focus, teammates are ready to discuss and create an actionable plan to strengthen work performance and eliminate wasted time and effort.
Additionally, in this workshop, teammates will identify two or three opportunities to improve their Team Operating System over the next 90 days.
This workshop continues to build momentum by delivering more evidence that the RMT model is working.
Workshop #3 – Teammate Growth & Development
Finally, team members are ready for the third workshop, which focuses on Right-Minded teammate development.
In this event, rather than looking at the team as a whole, individual teammates are encouraged to take an honest look at their own attitudes, behaviors, and work performance.
Owning their contributions to the team and the impact of their behavior and choices solidifies the value of each team member.
With Right-Minded teammate development, the goal is to identify simple, legitimate, and actionable improvements for each person on the team.
As the team grows and evolves, the Right-Minded Teamwork method can be used cyclically to produce powerful continuous improvement.
In the end, the Right-Minded Teamwork method is a business and psychological approach to team building.
Acceptance, forgiveness, and self-adjustment become an integral part of team culture.
Exceptional customer satisfaction is a natural result.
For three real-world success stories illustrating this multi-workshop plan, look for the Right-Minded Teamwork Implementation Plan – Three Examples in the Resources section of Creating Right-Minded Teamwork in Any Team.
These Characteristics of Effective Teamwork Help Great Leaders Build Trust
Without strong internal processes and teammate trust, teams fall apart. Such was the case for Peter and Randy, co-managers of an 80-person team working for an international engineering company. Team members constantly disagreed over work processes, and toxic interpersonal relationships caused additional stress and dysfunction.
Upon review, many team members had complaints about the number of required team meetings. They felt meetings were ineffective and not valuable and decided this was the first issue to address. With support, they created Work Agreements that mapped out how they would use agendas, identified desired outcomes, and laid ground rules to keep meetings on track. They also addressed how to speak up if a meeting went sideways.
After just one month, teammates reported they were getting more work done because they were not in so many meetings, and the meetings they did have were more productive, organized, and better facilitated.
The team declared the Work Agreement a success, and managers Randy and Peter estimated they were able to save $10,000 a week in labor costs.
In this article, we presented the Right-Minded Teamwork’s 5 Element framework. This method is essentially how team leaders can apply the key characteristics of effective teamwork.
We reviewed important topics like the team leader’s job, plus common teamwork issues and challenges you face.
Next, we discussed the 5 Elements, or characteristics, of effective teamwork.
And finally, we discovered a three-workshop plan for how leaders and teammates can successfully apply characteristics in their team.
Download Creating Right-Minded Teamwork in Any Team to start applying this real-world team building method today.
To Your Success, Dan