Today’s companies, which focus on collaboration and cooperation among people working in teams, are considered marvels of organization. By working in teams, people are able to develop ideas and accomplish tasks that no one person could do alone.
But what makes a great team? Research is showing that there are three factors that come together to make a team truly exceptional– intellectual diversity, psychological safety, and a meaningful purpose.
When people talk about diversity, they usually have in mind people of different ages, races, and genders. Intellectual diversity includes these things, but it contains much more. Intellectual diversity means bringing together people with different perspectives, attitudes, and viewpoints. It means bringing together people from different backgrounds, people who have different educational backgrounds and different life experiences. It is about collaboration among people who think differently.
This is a term that describes the freedom that people within the group feel to express their ideas and opinions without being subjected to harsh criticism or having their ideas dismissed out of hand.
When there is psychological security, people feel comfortable throwing out ideas no matter how offbeat they may be because the team values this diversity of ideas. People in the group are more willing to take risks and to make mistakes because they know they won’t be judged by their mistakes. Rather, in a group characterized by psychological security, group members use mistakes as learning tools to make improvements.
Purpose That Matters
It is naturally important for a team to have a goal that all team members find worthwhile. It is important for team members to have a shared vision and mission.
But for the team to really excel, the purpose everyone is working toward has to be one that they find more than just important, but one that is critical, that is worthy of their best effort and for the sacrifices they’re making to achieve it.
When the purpose has been raised to this level, all of the group members see the work they’re doing as more than just a job, but a calling. Moreover, this kind of purpose helps to bond them together so that they are working just as much for each other as they are for achieving their goal.