A team is a group of highly communicative people, with various diverse backgrounds, who all share a clearly defined, common goal.

With this definition in mind, I am going to attempt to provide you with the 10 ingredients of a highly effective team. I use the concept of "ingredients" for a reason. Just as a chef who requires all of the major ingredients in order for their food to taste just right, a team needs every one of the ingredients I am about to share in order to be highly effective and productive in today's competitive environment.

When a chef leaves out just one ingredient, it will usually change the flavor of the dish being created. When one of the ingredients for a highly effective team is missing, just like the recipe, your team's outcome will be impacted. Basically, you will not have a highly effective team. Sure, you will still have a group of people, but they will not be a "highly effective" team. Every ingredient needs to be included in order to have a productive team.

Below are the 10 ingredients for a highly effective team:

Ingredient # 1: Goals
Teams need goals. With no goals, everyone is going in a different direction. In order to be effective, teams need to share a common goal that all members of the team agree on and are required to achieve. A common goal could be something as simple as a company's mission and vision statement. Everyone on the team must agree to the goal and make a commitment to accomplish the company's mission and vision together. Clearly defined, common goals will provide the way for each member of the team and identify not only where they currently are but where they want to be and what they need to accomplish.

Ingredient #2: Interdependence
Interdependence means that each member of a team is dependent on one another. This translates to the analogy that as a team "you sink or swim together". Team members need to be dependent on each other in order to grow and prosper as a functional team. Each member of the team "needs" the contributions from the other members and is willing to go above and beyond their limits and capabilities in order to effectively be able to achieve the goals of the team.

Ingredient #3: Accountability
Accountability means that each individual member of the team is responsible for their own function and roles. Each member has their tasks and duties that have an affect on the outcome of the team as a whole. If one person decides not to participate or contribute to the team, this can have an impact on the overall production of the team as well as the establishment. Unproductive team members force productive team members to compensate for their lack of cooperation and therefore fall behind themselves. Each member of the team needs to be accountable for doing the right thing and for producing to the best of their ability.

Ingredient #4: Respect
Respect is a major key to the success of any team. Each member needs to respect one another for "what" and "who" they are. Respect is something that is never given, but earned. Individuals earn respect by consistently doing the right thing, thereby establishing credibility with the members of the team.

Ingredient #5: Integrity
Integrity includes honesty and trustworthiness. This means being honest with yourself as well as with one another. Integrity is that one critical ingredient that can provide instant credibility with one other. An honest team is always a successful and productive team. Integrity is also one of the most important criteria for establishing leadership. Followers will tend to follow a leader of high integrity because they realize that their well being, and that of the company is paramount.

Ingredient #6: Trust
In order for any team to be successful, all members of the team need to establish a certain level of trust. Team members need to be able to trust that all members of the team will do the right thing, do their job to the best of their ability, and that each member of the team will be honest, respectful, and professional with one another.

Ingredient #7: Commitment
A good definition of commitment is the act of promising or agreeing to passionately and persistently do something in the future. This means that each member has an obligation or pledge with the team to always do their best at all times and to devote 110% to the success of the team.

Ingredient #8: Communication
Approximately 95% of all problems within a typical organization stem from a communication breakdown. That means "somebody" didn't tell "someone" something that "anyone" could have done in the first place. In order for all communication to be effective, it must be two-way in nature. All parties involved need to "actively listen" to each other and not just "hear" them. The typical communication process is not fully complete unless the feedback loop has been confirmed. Paraphrasing is a proven method to confirm a message because it allows the receiver to repeat the message back in their own words, therefore clarifying with the sender that they fully understand the message.

Ingredient #9: Flexibility
Flexibility means having an open mind. Being willing to listen to other's opinions and respecting those opinions. A flexible team member is willing to "bend" and think and act outside of the box. People who are stuck in their ways and are not willing to change will impact the team from moving forward and growing.

Ingredient #10: Synergy
Synergy comes from two words. 1) Synchronization, and 2) Energy. Synergy is described as the interaction of people, that when combined together produces a total effect that is greater than any individual contributions. The best way to describe what synergy is, is to provide the following three analogies:

1) 1 + 1 = 3,
2) Two heads are better than one, and
3) The whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Basically, synergy means the ability to tie in all of the ingredients listed above. Being in the same book is just not good enough. To have true synergy, everyone needs to be on the same page.

Underlying all the ingredients of a successful team is the concept to drive fear out of teams. This concept was promoted by Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points (Delavigne and Robertson, 1994).

We need to rapidly revisit the promotion of cooperation by valuing the contribution of each individual to a team. Combined with the previously mentioned 10 ingredients, driving fear out of an establishment will lead to success by creating a sense of worth and value for team members.

The highly effective team has a thorough understanding of the above ingredients and faithfully practices them. They not only practice these ingredient, they also believe and live them. If you look at each one of these ingredients, you will see that every one of these are required for success. Leaving just one or more of these 10 ingredients out of the recipe will be detrimental to the success of the team.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Al Infande is currently the Online Human Resources Lead Faculty at Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Alabama. He is also the President of Infande Associates, Inc., a full service consulting firm providing Human Resources/Training and Development programs for business and industry. Dr. Infande also serves as a University Professor at several colleges and universities where he teaches courses in Human Resources Management. Dr. Infande has earned several Ph.D.s in the areas of Organizational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and Human Resources Development. He has developed and delivered an array of seminars and workshops for both academicians and corporate executives. During his career, he has written several publications in the areas of Adult Education, Training and Development, and Stress Management.