The second category of attributes that are important for teams to be effective is behavioral attributes. These attributes describe how individuals and teams as a whole act. While the first category, skills is about the individual, behavior is about the team as a group. All team members’ behavior should contribute to how the team works together to meet it’s goal. The most important behavior attributes are:

How well do team members support each other?

  • By definition, a team requires members to interact and play a role. A good team is like a photo mosaic that needs each tile but each piece overlaps with its neighbors to create a whole. I love baseball, was recently reading an article on the value of the utility player. This player can fill in a gap so that the whole team can move forward.

Does the team communicate well? 

  • Teams that don’t communicate well end up with lots of rework and friction.The definition of “well” includes clear, freely, and the ability to tackle the hard questions. I recently observed a Daily Scrum a few days in a row in which two members droned on about the meetings they had scheduled for minutes. No one on the team felt they had the authority or responsibility to say anything, they phased out and did email on their other monitor. A retrospective surfaced a communication and respect issue.

Do team members trust each other?

  • Trust is the placing of confidence in a person or thing. Trust is our belief that we are hearing the truth, that of someone says they will deliver, they will, that we won’t be judged for our honest failings. We build and earn trust as Jeff Dalton stated on  SPaMCAST 591, Jeff stated, “trust does not magically appear because we want it to. “

Does the team enjoy working together? 

Does everyone contribute to the team’s goals? 

  • No one likes a free rider. When team members don’t understand the value each member brings to the table will generate friction which reduces effectiveness and efficiency. Teams sometimes need help understanding that the value any individual delivers can wax and wane depending on the business problem or their personnel situation.

Is everyone focused on the same goals and results?

  • Goals and results have a dramatic impact on helping teams focus. Goals and results act as an anchor to connect to new behaviors. Goals provide teams with a mechanism to generate feedback so the team can adjust its behavior. 

Do team members respect each other?

  • Team members that don’t have due regard for each other’s abilities, qualities, and/or achievements will not work well together. Simply put respect and trust go hand in hand without one you don’t have a chance with the other.

Behaviour is observable, but make sure you don’t jump to conclusions because you see something once. I like the rule of evidence, see something twice and hear it from two different people before believing it. In the end, behavior is a choice and is changeable. Don’t fall for the old line. “It’s culture, so we can’t change.” The term is a talisman to hold change at bay. Culture isn’t a barrier to change it is a choice.