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Does your team function more as a collection of individuals or as a true team?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Does your team function more as a collection of individuals or as a true team?

  • It’s a bunch of individuals who all happen to report to me: 45%
  • It’s a true team where the group is more important than any one person: 55%

What makes them a team? If you’re struggling with a collection of individuals who don’t function as a true team, the burden rests with you to fix that situation. Have you articulated a shared purpose? Is everyone bought into that purpose or is it just something you put on the wall? Do you praise team successes or do you hold up individual success as a bigger achievement? The way you lead the members of this team drives how close they are. Look for a shared obstacle they can overcome but the only way to do so is by working together. Find a challenge and throw down the gauntlet. A crucible can help forge separate elements into a united entity.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. His is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box,” and “The Elegant Pitch.”