The 3 C’s of an Effective Work Team

It takes hard work and dedication to build a successful work team, yet the results they deliver are worth every ounce of effort. A team may be well-trained in terms of talent and skill set, but if their coordination is off or they lack the necessary “soft skills” of trust, communication, and mutual feedback, even the most highly trained work team can be reduced to dysfunction and squabbling.

For some, the idea of soft skills may seem elusive or abstract. For others, their organization has operated for so long without them, it is hard to conceive of what a high-functioning team might look like. Fortunately, there are three elements that will increase the coordination, performance, and soft skills of any work team. These are the 3 C’s of Confidence, Compassion, and Cohesion.

Compassion in the workplace means to understand a colleague’s pain. Assuming the highest goal of the work team is achieving the organization’s mission, compassion is a natural by-product. When we choose to “suffer with” rather than “compete against” our colleagues, an office culture can completely turn around.  Because workers are no longer working for themselves they can now be coordinated toward achieving optimal results. This is also a re-prioritization of “service of colleagues” over “fulfillment of self” and management must model this behavior as well in order to make it stick. CIA or “Compassion-In-Action” includes appropriate division of the workload, mutual feedback around role performance and improved coordination of tasks.

Cohesion: Team cohesion naturally arises from compassionate employees. Cohesion is built out of TLC, or Trust, Love and Commitment. Trust is the foundation of a cohesive work team. Through completion of common goals and shared experience teams forge bonds of trust with one another. Greater trust will also ensure that our teammates hold each other accountable to tasks, which further increases compassion as employees learn to “suffer with” each other. Love refers to the level of passion for the work they do and for the team. Passion is an irreplaceable fuel that drives success in any business and this potential must be harnessed for the team. Commitment refers to their level of commitment to the goal as well as to each other.

Confidence: There are two types of confidence. The first is mastery over a particular skill that that is gained through practice and experience. The second is a form of inner confidence that we know we are capable of adapting and doing whatever it takes to succeed in the moment. This sense of knowing includes an ability to face our shortcomings and see them not as failures, but as opportunities to learn, change, and grow. Inner confidence is simply our ability to fall and fall and keep getting up again until whatever task we set out to do is mastered.

Confidence also links back to cohesion. As trust is gained we grow more confident in our teammates and vice versa. Compassion is further fueled by confidence. As we begin to see the results and feel the power of a cohesive team, we become more committed to each other and this increases our confidence.

The 3 C’s allow a team to function optimally without the common maladaptive behaviors such as gossip, competitiveness, and stabbing each other in the back. Through common goals in times of crisis the bonds of teamwork are forged and the increasing soft skills bring about the missing elements of a high functioning work team. .

Research abundantly shows that teambuilding improves organizational performance by almost 20%. The 3 C’s are part of every team’s natural potential and they can be harnessed through the right leadership. Cultivating the 3 C’s is part of the work I do in my coaching program and I invite you to contact me if you want to learn more.


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