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Seven Characteristics of an Effective Team

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Learning how to work well in a team is one of the fundamentals of success. Many pitfalls can negatively affect how people work together in teams, from ego clashes and differences of opinion to lack of leadership and disorganization. To help make the situation easier, it can help to be aware of the numerous desirable and necessary characteristics of effective teamwork.

Strong Sense of Purpose

It is vital for any team to have a sense of purpose and defined goal. To put together a concise plan of action, it is necessary for the entire team to be aware of, understand and accept the main goal. All of the members of the team must be willing to take on responsibilities to have the goal come into fruition.

Good Leadership

Leadership is key to an effective team. Without a strong leader, a team can feel out of control and chaotic. The leader doesn't necessarily have to be a specific person, but can also be a group of persons. Some common traits for good leaders include courage, fairness, intelligence, the ability to be straightforward, friendliness, honesty and creativity. Leadership is essential to unite the group together and organize the vision.

Listening Skills

For a team to be able to thrive, it is important that all of the members listen to each other. If something is not understood, clarification is crucial. Team members should show an active interest in how others think and feel.

Clear Roles

To keep a team organized, it is important that all of the roles and tasks of each specific member are clearly defined and understood. It also is beneficial to ensure that the distribution of assignments is as fairly and evenly distributed throughout the team as possible.


Trust is one of the fundamentals of a team. The team members should trust each other and also have trust in their leader. People on the team should be confident that the other members' actions are in everyone's best interest. Feelings like doubt and suspicion should never be present in an effective teamwork environment.

Lack of Selfishness

To make a team succeed, there can never be any room for selfishness. Selfishness defeats the entire purpose of what teams are all about. Nobody in a team should be in it looking for personal credit, but rather, credit as a team. Selfishness often leads to counterproductive issues, such as competition from within a team, which can be detrimental to the final goal.

Mutual Appreciation

In teamwork, it is important for the members to be able to share in their successes. On the way to a goal, it can help greatly to boost morale to celebrate all of the little victories. Give your team members a pat on the back when they come up with or accomplish something good for the group. Make your team members aware that you appreciate them and enjoy working together.


Lars Tramilton has been writing professionally since 2007. His work has appeared in a variety of online publications, including CareerWorkstation. Tramilton received a bachelor's degree with a focus on elementary education from Kean University.

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