5 Traits of Successful Teams, per Google

graphic that says 5 traits of successful teams per google

Last week Inc. magazine released an article summarizing the research findings of Google about the best traits for teams. If you read this blog, then you know that this is a subject near and dear to my heart! You can read the full article here, but in a nutshell, in its quest to build the perfect team, Google studied 180 teams for two years and discovered that the most successful teams shared five key traits.

  • Dependability – team members are accountable and meet expectations
  • Structure and clarity – clear goals, defined roles and rules of engagement
  • Meaning – the work has to have significance to each team member
  • Impact – the team’s work needs to make a difference and have a positive impact
  • Psychological safetymore on this below

I’ve been training successful teams for 20 years and I concur with the results of Google’s study. The one success trait that really struck me was what they called “psychological safety.” You can call it “trust” or “a safe space to take risks,” but it basically boils down to the same thing: acceptance, with no fear of judgement, recrimination or competition. An environment where you can safely be vulnerable; a place to be authentic.

This psychological safety can be established either formally or informally as the team’s “group norms” or “team culture” and it is very tough to quantify but WOW do you know when it’s there. Google’s researchers concluded that what distinguished these “good” teams from the dysfunctional teams was how teammates treated one another. And perhaps most importantly, it was this psychological safety – more than anything other factor – that was critical to making a team work.

The funny thing is that Google’s intense data collection and analysis led to a conclusion that good managers have always known. In the best teams, members listen to one another and show empathy to feelings and needs.

I don’t mind a bit that Google’s insights aren’t necessarily original – it is still valuable to be reminded that emotional intelligence and leadership authenticity are critical to successful teams and leadership. They have basically validated my years of experience and my personal mantra.

If you think you need some help developing psychological safety in your teams, Powers Resource Center can help. Check us out at https://www.powersresourcecenter.com/leadership-assessments/

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