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Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, I think we can agree that our government is a classic example of how not to work together.  They engage in finger pointing, yelling, game playing and focus on the individual goals rather than the collective purpose.  For those of us in the private sector, we couldn’t stay in business if we acted like our government.

So, if we can agree that our government isn’t a good example for healthy team work, what does a healthy team look like?  As I reflect on my positive and negative experiences working on a team, I came up with the following which I believe are necessary to ensure a healthy team.

  1. A clear objective.  Make sure that the team understands why they are working together.  What are the collective objectives that the individuals are working towards?  If they don’t know why they are working together, the team isn’t going to succeed.
  2. A desire for the team to succeed.  If the team member or members aren’t committed to working together for good of the team, then ultimately, the individual motives will overcome the team objectives.
  3. A method for handling disagreements.  Having differing opinions is normal, but, it is important that when opinions start to clash, there are guidelines in place to address the disagreements in a healthy manner.
  4. A willingness to hear the other side. We all can benefit from hearing others with a different opinion.  Not just to respond to what they are saying, but, to really listen and understand.
  5. An ability to admit when we are wrong. As Zac Brown sang with Asyln, “you’re not always right, I’m not always wrong.”
  6. Accountability.  Nothing will derail a team faster than individuals who aren’t held accountable for their contributions.

You may be able to name other requirements for a healthy team.  But, I think this list is a good start to ensuring a healthy, functioning team. I’m sure we can agree that we want to be more functional than our federal government.

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