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I’ve been part of a team since I waddled across our living room floor toward a plastic, 2-foot-high basketball goal – me and dad vs. mom and sister. Then, league baseball started at 4 and neighborhood play at 6 – football, paintball, basketball, wallball, soccer, you name it. Now I’m playing all those same games … me and my youngest son vs. my 2 oldest sons.

When we started M&R in 2008, we started as a team. It was a small one to be sure – 2 longtime friends starting out on a path that winded around to places unknown. But we started adding to the team each year and before long, departments started forming.

We looked around for a coach but didn’t find one – it was on us, and we needed a common goal. We quickly realized we were much better together than we ever were individually. We had our own experiences and our ideas gained traction collectively.

9 Markers of a Healthy Team

There’s a big difference in working beside each other, working with each other, and working for each other. The goal of every great team is to work for each other. Working beside or with isn’t enough to win in a competitive environment. When you work for the rest of the team, and a win for them is a win for you, you have a healthy team.

Here are 9 markers of a healthy team:

  1. Extend trust to every team member
  2. Respect the talent, opinions, and ideas of the rest of the team
  3. Remember their own weaknesses so they’re not quick to judge the weaknesses of others
  4. Realize the parts form the whole
  5. Understand there are no individual wins, only team wins
  6. Sincerely care for one another
  7. Understand how to offer and receive constructive criticism
  8. Hold each other accountable toward a common goal
  9. Care as much about who their teammate is as they do about what their teammate does

Teamwork also demands vulnerability. Patrick Lencioni says it this way: “Remember, teamwork begins by building trust, and the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

3 Markers of an Unhealthy Team

We often forget that the health of our team also impacts our clients – the healthier the team, the better the work they produce. Here are 3 markers of an unhealthy team:

  • They compete, but against each other instead of against the demands of the task
  • They communicate, but through each other instead of to each other
  • They arrive, but at the wrong destination

The goal of every business is to provide your market every reason possible to choose to work with you. If you can’t work for your team, you won’t be able to work for your client.

Henry Ford understood this fact well when he said, “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”

So, where are you in the process?