How to Build Better Teams

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Make the Invisible Visible

We’ve all experienced the challenge of working alongside someone who does everything differently than we do. If we’re organized, they’re chaotic. If we’re technical, they’re figurative. If we’re punctual, they’re unreachable. Though skillsets are indeed important for various tasks, it’s personality and our navigation of its many nuances, illustrated in this video, that can transform a mere group into a thriving team.

As psychologist Anita Woolley expresses in this podcast, exclusively emphasizing the importance of skills won’t remedy interpersonal challenges or blind spots. Neglect of the human aspect within groups can lead to friction and frustration. Airlines famously exemplify this understanding with Do Not Pair List, allowing pilots to avoid flying alongside copilots they clash with. Pairing people who work well together, after all, tends to help avert disaster.

Yet for those of us without such an option, how we bring different arrays of traits, strengths, and even blind spots together into functional and harmonious relationships relies on how well we accommodate and even complement our teammates. It’s a concept meticulously explored within the SurePeople Prism® Portrait, as discussed in this video with organizational psychologist James Brooks.

We may not need to get along with everyone we work with—in fact getting along too well with one another can sometimes chip away at our productivity—but we should at the very least strive to handle team interactions with grace and awareness. We should strive to be aware of our tendencies and the tendencies of those around us, of unique strengths and limitations.

Like in any relationship, anticipating each other’s needs and accommodating with our own strengths elevates morale, productivity, and a sense of togetherness. At the end of the day, a team isn’t just a group of people with various skills, but rather a group of people who learn to succeed together.

“A group is a bunch of people in an elevator. A team is a bunch of people in an elevator, but the elevator is broken.”
– Bonnie Edelstein

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