Characteristics of Effective Teams

Definition of Teamwork

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) define Team as; A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Teams are assembled with a purpose to achieve certain objectives, and people in the teams with their skills, attitudes, behavior and knowledge hold the key to the attainment of objectives.

Characteristics of Effective Teams

Characteristics of effective teams could be listed as follows

  • Most Organisations have teams as the basic unit of performance, they are joint together through their skills, experiences and insights.
  • The term teamwork has a holistic nature that applied to the whole wide organisation whereas it could appeal to individual teams as well, Teamwork is possible if members show values that encourage behaviours like listening, and showing coordination, accepting and giving people benefit of the doubt, support eachother and recognising the interests and appreciating achievements of others.
  • Teams are energized by different performance challenges.\
  • Teams outperform individuals acting alone or in large organizational groupings, especially when performance requires multiple skills, judgements and experiences.
  • Flexibility towards changing events and demands is a major requirement of the teams. Teams can makje adjustment to new information and make it part of the tasks, approach challenges with greater speed, accuracy and effectiveness than can individuals caught in the web of larger organizational  conventions.
  • High-performance teams invest much time and effort exploring, shaping and agreeing on a purpose that belongs to them, both collectively and individually. They are characterized by a deep sense of commitment towards growth and success.


Katzenbach, J and Smith, D (1993) The Magic of Teams, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA