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Productivity

5 Qualities Every Elite Business Team Has

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Business trainer and former professional sports coach Kirk Peterson works with large corporations, small businesses and AFL footballers to develop leadership and management skills and build team effectiveness. Peterson shares five key qualities found in every elite business team and productive work environment.

Kirk Peterson

1. Self-Awareness

As individuals we’ve got to know ourselves to get the most out of ourselves. Make sure each of your employees understand understands understand
theirhis or her own key drivers, strengths, blockages and challenges so they can improve and excel.

Expert tip

It’s only through self-awareness that your employees can tell you their style of working. Through this self-management you can assess how to help them reach their full potential, whether through internal knowledge sharing, formal training courses or new hires with a different skill set. 

2. Openness

In any team you need to be able to give feedback and address any situation with manners, professionalism and clarity. In Australia, we’re not very good at giving feedback to people’s faces – it’s too awkward and confrontational – we’d rather tell the feedback to everyone else. 

But in professional sporting teams, players don’t talk behind each other’s backs, they use a concept called ‘leading teams’ in which an individual sits in a circle and the rest of the team team sits around the person and provides the individual with feedback so the team can improve. 

Expert tip

Use this concept as a base but make it more business-friendly. Ask team members who is the person that they most respect in the organisation and, if possible, have that person act as a mentor and give honest feedback.

3. Dedication

Engagement is the killer or fuel for a business .Great work environments and teams are made of focused and loyal individuals who never take their eye off the main objective or waiver off course. Grow your relationships with your employees so you can have honest conversations about what would keep them engaged. 

Expert tip

Find out what makes your staff tick and work together to see how you can help each persion achieve his or her goal. For example, if it’s an employee’s dream to own their own house, you could offer your business expertise to show them an effective payment and savings structure, develop an internal career plan for the individual, or celebrate the person's achievements with small bonuses.

4. Positivity

Everyone wants their business to be a fun and enjoyable work environment. It’s no secret that the companies that frequently top ‘Best places to work’ lists are often innovative businesses like Google, who are known for their great workplace culture and ability to foster team effectiveness. This is because they look out for skilled team members and go-getters who view these roadblocks as challenges to conquer.

Expert tip

Positive employees can help build a solution-centred workplace culture. These players self-manage as they want to improve and succeed, they don’t finger point and blame others but take responsibility.

When you point your finger at someone you have one finger pointing at someone else and three fingers pointing back at you. Remind your staff of this concept next time they come to you with a problem, so in future hey'll come to you with a well- thought-out solution.

5. Self-Managed

In small businesses, owners and managers have to do everything. Time and resource constraints can often mean people managing goes to the bottom of the to-do list.

Driven athletes and employees make themselves accountable and take responsibility for their own actions. There might not be clear KPIs set out for them but they are sself-motivated, determined to learn and improve, and know how to manage themselves effectively.

Expert tip

You should already be running regular feedback and review systems with your staff – if you’re not, start now! In these sessions have your team members reflect on their own performance, while you provide advice and input. This strategy instils a sense of responsibility in team members and helps staff align their own views with the organisation’s vision.

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Originally published 26th September 2014. Updated 2nd August 2019.

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