Anatomy of A Good Team

“Many hands make the work light.”

That’s why it’s important to understand the anatomy of a good team.

I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation on teamwork recently at work. The following are the five parts of anatomy they presented that are helpful in developing a good team. Get this structure right and your team will rock!

  1. Keep a focus on Establishing and Maintaining Trust. This can be more difficult than it sounds because trust takes time. Trust can be broken, but it can be repaired. Try to avoid actions that could cause distrust in others and be transparent when possible.
  2. Understand where your colleagues are coming from. Taking the time to look at things from another’s point of view goes a long way for solutions and processes that work most efficiently.
  3. Teams have to put in the work up front to develop a common language. Everyone speaks a different language. It can take 4-6 months to understand someone’s language.
  4. Setting Expectations. Unless you say it, others may not know what your expectations are. After you’ve been with a team for a while you may develop some mind reading capabilities. Even then – it’s best to continue to voice your expectations out loud to avoid miscommunications.
  5. Be Fearless in getting what you need. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t getting what you need.

Sometimes good team communication is all in how you word things.

“What questions do you have?” or “Any questions so far?” Are more effective ways to elicit response than – “Do you have any questions?

I statements can be helpful too. “I don’t understand…” “What can I do to make this easier…” “I would like to watch and see how you interact…”

Role playing can also be an effective way to communicate. It can help to understand where others are at.


Keep at the top of your mind that everyone on the team is Smart, Knowledgeable, and Dedicated. Despite that mistakes will happen – and when they do don’t chastise or belittle. Instead, look at mistakes as opportunities to grow.

  • That’s okay…
  • Don’t worry about it…
  • This is what we’ll do…

If the timing is not right to address it, respond with

  • We’ll talk more (at such and such) time

Sometimes a team can look like that first pancake off the grill – Doesn’t look very pretty and you just want to toss it. Resist that urge! The anatomy of a good team is something you can build with a little time, patience, and cooperation.

Here are 4 additional pieces helpful to have the anatomy of a good team.

  1. Proactively figure out ways to get more face time & have proximity. If your team is spread out. Find ways to connect.
  2. Inexperience + Inexperience = needs resources on speed dial
  3. You don’t know what you don’t know
  4. Arms Wide Open; We’re all in it together

What questions do you have about the anatomy of a good team?

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