Management Tip of the Day: The makings of a real team

Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:24am EDT
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BOSTON (Reuters) - The word "team" is so overused that most companies and managers don't have any idea what a real team is, says Harvard Business Review.

The Harvard Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"The word 'team' is so commonly used in today's organizations, most managers are oblivious to its true meaning.

Here are three characteristics a group must have to be considered a real team, and to maximize its potential:

1. A meaningful and common purpose. This is more than an outside mandate from the top of the organization. To be successful, the team must develop and own its purpose.

2. Adaptable skills. Diverse capabilities are important. Effective teams rarely have all the skills they need at the outset. They develop them as they learn what their challenge requires.

3. Mutual accountability. You can't force trust and commitment. Agreeing on the team's goals is the first moment at which team members forge their accountability to one another.

-- Today's management tip was adapted from the book "Harvard Business Review on Building Better Teams."

(For the full post, see: here)

<p>Teams compete during the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong June 24, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung</p>