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About teamwork

What makes a team successful? My cheat sheet for the leader of every synodal community. Inspired by HaasMortensen201606 and other sources (e.g. Natürliche Gemeindeentwicklung).

  • The personalities, attitudes, or behavioural styles of the team members don’t matter. What matters are certain enabling conditions.

  • Add members only when necessary. Larger teams are more vulnerable to poor communication, fragmentation and “free riding” (due to a lack of accountability). Not more members than the minimum. (More than good enough is too much).

  • Teams are vulnerable to two “corrosive problems”: “us versus them” thinking and incomplete information

Enabling conditions

  • Compelling direction – we have a goal that we want to reach

  • Strong structure – well-designed rules, norms, tasks and processes. Discourage destructive behaviour.

  • Diversity in knowledge, views and perspectives. The right mix of “cosmopolitan” and “local” members.

  • Supportive context:

    • a good reward system (reinforces good performance)

    • a good information system (provides access to the data)

    • a good educational system (training)

    • material resources (funding, technological assistance)

  • Shared mindset (not each member needs technical or social skills, but the team overall needs a healthy dose of both)


  • Destructive behaviour: withhold information, pressure people to conform, avoid responsibility, cast blame upon individual members

  • Promote positive dynamics