Best team ever

I am working in the Best Team Ever. It’s not just me who thinks it though; both present and past members of my team have commented that this team is the best team ever. I’ve been thinking about why that is.

  1. Collaboration and support

We’re lucky to have work which doesn’t set us up to compete against each other. Our team culture is open and sharing. Yes, it’s difficult to take time out to answer questions when you’re busy or in the middle of something, but it’s something that we do. A question answered properly today is a question you don’t have to answer again tomorrow.

We help each other when we can, and are willing to share experiences and provide advice. It’s not unusual to see two or three people clustered by someone’s desk to provide guidance for a tricky situation.

We share our grievances too, commiserating when we encounter those is-it-just-me-or-is-the-system-broken moments. But even letting off steam in a rant can be a learning experience – chances are someone in the team knows a way around that blockage you are up against.

2. Management

The manager who grew and strengthened our team was great at spotting who would fit, even once hiring someone with no relevant experience because she could see this was a person with the right attitude. Although our management has changed since then, the new manager did not come in and introduced sweeping changes. She seems to take on board the idea that what’s not broken doesn’t need fixing (she also thinks we’re the best team ever). The work ethic of the team has been established, and she leaves us to get on with it.

3. Taking time out

With working life being what it is, our team spends a lot of time together, so we can’t help but get involved in each other’s lives. There is always cake for birthdays, and we celebrate each other’s achievements and life milestones. People who travel bring back treats for everyone else. We get together sometimes after work or for lunch. We actually like being around each other. I realise we are very lucky to have this.

4. Diversity = inclusion

We have 14 different nationalities amongst our 20-strong team. I think this diversity makes us stronger and certainly more inclusive. In some way, we are all strangers here and that’s a shared experience we all start from. We recognise that everyone brings a different history and experience to the team, and every day there is something new to learn from someone.

I often wonder if it would be possible to recreate this Best Team Ever feeling in other teams: teams that are not functioning well or teams that are just starting out. I know that one of the things that keeps me here is this team and the thought that if I left, I may find myself in a dysfunctional and broken team. Can you turn a broken team around? How long would it take? And even if you fix things at the team level, can a team every do well if it’s not managed well from above?


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