August 23, 2011 | Leadership, Workplace Culture + Practices

Teamwork is important to any organization. In my company I have the pleasure of working with what I consider to be an outstanding human resource and administration team. I love coming to work every day to interact and collaborate with this group of people. When I think about the individuals I work with and what it is that makes a team work well, the reasons are ridiculously simple. And these attributes apply to any team anywhere:



    1. We like each other. My teammates hold each other in high regard. We appreciate and value each other and come from a place of understanding rather than judgment.


    1. We talk to each other. Openly, honestly, regularly. Perhaps from the outside looking in, it may look like too many meetings or discussion. Not so. It’s this open and straight-forward communication that allows us to get work done efficiently and with consideration for each other.


    1. We want to work together to achieve great things. There are no hidden agendas, no attempts to derail others for individual gain, and no throwing each other under the bus. There is a genuine desire and commitment on the part of each teammate to act for the common good of the team and the company time and time again.


    1. We complement each other perfectly. In our department, as in other HR and administration departments around the world these days, there is a seemingly constantly changing mix of new projects, research, and new tasks. Along with this, there are as many routine tasks that are just as constant. Work styles vary, but each member’s strengths add to the success of the team instead of hinder it. Effective teams are able to match projects and tasks with the person on the team best suited to do the work.


    1. We have very little conflict. I think it’s a myth that conflict is good. To be clear, I do not advocate sweeping disagreements under the rug and pretending there are not problems when there really are. But the idea that human beings need conflict to grow, to understand each other and to work better together is ridiculous. Instead, I take the point of view that conflict happens – that life isn’t all smooth-sailing all the time (at least not yet) – and when it does, deal with it we absolutely must. On my team, each of us has the ability to settle disagreements and then move on.


    1. We have fun. This one is just as important as anything else. If we can’t have fun together, we can’t really be an effective team.



The HR and administration group is not the only high-functioning team in our company. I can point to many examples of great teams here, including how our entire company operates as a team. And these attributes seem to be a constant.


Supporting effective team work is one very important way a company can be successful and make it a great place to work. What attributes would you add to this list?