Five Surprising Qualities that Can Help You Build Highly Effective Teams

When I was in graduate school, my first job was managing people.
It makes me cringe to think back on the things I said, did, and implemented in my 15-person group. Yikes. I pray they will forgive me for my inept leadership skills and awareness.
To improve my leadership skills, I read books and talked to other leaders.
My goal in our team was to have zero disagreements. I believed that uniform consensus was a good thing, and that any disagreement was a sign of a dysfunctional team and an inept leader.
I wasn’t obsessed about controlling my team. I simply believed that healthy working environments depended on everyone agreeing.
The team was soon in conflict. It was not acrimonious nor awkward. Surprise, the disagreement was lively, interactive, and engaging.
We had made amazing progress by the end our 3-hour meeting. Our team broke a sales record because of the innovation, energy and disagreements that occurred during our 3-hour meeting.
Surprise surprise! Disagreement doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Although I wouldn’t dismiss traditional leadership traits, I found my leadership abilities improved through unexpected events and not the “essential marks” of a leader pablum I read.
These experiences and some research have led me to five surprising qualities that can help you build more effective teams.
1. Open dissent is acceptable.
A little constructive criticism can make a big difference. Sometimes, you have to go a step further and invite disagreement.
Although it might seem counterintuitive to encourage disagreement within your team, doing so can lead to positive results.
You’re not making your ideas stand out if you don’t put them under the microscope. An outstanding idea must be able to withstand scrutiny and multiple iterations.
Your team will be more open to constructive disagreement if you allow it. You can overcome your weaknesses together and make a rough stone a polished gem.
However, it is important to not create a negative environment by examining other ideas. Disagreements can lead to heated arguments that are not beneficial for anyone.
Positive thinking is key to avoiding negativity. Pixar employs a technique called “plussing” when making films. It’s a simple but effective idea. When someone criticizes an idea, they must also point to a “plus.” This could either be a positive aspect of the idea or a suggestion for improving it.
If disagreement is allowed to take place in a positive, supportive environment, it can transform ideas and strengthen your team. Everyone should feel free to participate in the conversation, regardless of whether they agree or disagree.
2. Focused free time is key.
Nearly every company ensures that employees get enough breaks throughout the day. Many companies go one step further by giving employees ample free time during workdays.
It works because employees use this time to pursue their passion projects. You can pursue a crazy idea if someone is doing paperwork.
Employees don’t feel restricted by their role or department anymore. They feel more fulfilled because they are actively contributing and innovating.
3M is an excellent example. Its 15 percent rule allows workers up to 15% of their time to work on any type of project with the goal to find new product ideas. Anything can be created as long as it is possible to create something new.
Intuit also offers 10% unstructured t for its employees

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