3 Essential Pieces to the Puzzle of a Successful Team

Every high performing team is made up of a mix of people that fulfill specific needs. They are all pieces of a puzzle that could not be completed if one piece was lost or exchanged for another shape. It is crucial that when building this team everyone knows their role and sticks to their responsibilities without stepping over boundary lines. Team members need to understand where those boundary lines are by becoming a jack of all trades but they still need to be an expert at one. Below are three essential components to a successful team.

  1. A Leader: The person who plays the leader, captain, or coach should be a great communicator and role model. They may not be the highest performing member of the team; however they have the best people skills to keep the team moving in the right direction. They need to have empathy for people when they are struggling but also an ability to push someone when they are feeling they have hit a wall. Teams do not succeed without someone leading them toward their end goal.
  2. Role Players: Although these team members are often over looked they are the most important in completing the simple tasks that lead to the overall success of the team. Role players are able to make a team’s project look appealing, function properly, or maintain a certain level of operation. It is important for the leader to establish that these people are role players on the team but also that they have individual roles assigned to them which contribute to the overall success of the team
  3. A Star Performer: Every best team has its role player or leader who also turns out to be its star. The star is the person who excels at everything at a level that is higher than the rest. It is the one person who has the skills that the others strive towards. This person develops the best ideas but also has the clearest plans to execute them. The star performer is not always the leader because they may not know how to communicate how they do what they do, but they embody what a high performer looks like.

There are very high functioning teams which do not have all three of these pieces yet produce great results. However, to be the best team possible you need to have members who take on each of these positions and then work together. The leader has the greatest influence on the cohesion of the team.

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.
– Vince Lombardi

Brian Alexander is the Marketing Project Specialist with The Ken Blanchard Companies. To learn more about The Ken Blanchard Companies please visit www.kenblanchard.com

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  • Comments (4)
  1. Thanks for the article. Do you think a successful team must always have a person in the star performer role?

    • Hi Ivan – No I do not think all successful teams must have a Star Performer role. The interesting thing is that some team members will develop in their roles so well that by the time the team has reached their end goal, stars will have emerged. Leaders need to be able to see the potential in their team members to become star performers.

      Thanks for reading!

    • helen588
    • June 14th, 2013

    Interesting post Brian. It’s great when you can chose your team and make sure you have the skills mix you describe.

    The challenge for managers everywhere is how to get the best from their teams where they don’t have the luxury of choice.

    • Thanks Helen. You are right. That is one of the biggest challenges leaders or managers face when they are given a team of people and asked to produce great results. I think the first step is for a leader to get to know each individual well and observe their strengths. Then you may be able to alter their roles to build on their strengths and put them on the path to becoming star performers.

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