In what ways have teams influenced you? Recall a positive team experience that has impacted your life. Perhaps it was a team sport when you were younger, or a project team that met an important goal. What makes that team experience stand out? Recall a negative team experience that has impacted you. Was it the goal? The leader? The team members? What made the experience negative? Consider the role(s) you’ve played and still play in teams. Do you see a pattern?

Review attached readings 2-3 (from the book Effective teams: Essentials from leader to leader by France Hesselbein) and lesssons and below links
Write a 400-word essay where you respond to the following prompts:

Compare and contrast high-performing teams and low-performing teams.
Support your discussion with personal examples of ways you’ve experienced teams, both high functioning and dysfunctional.

Sample Answer

Sample Answer


The Power of Teams: A Comparison of High-Performing and Low-Performing Teams

Teams play a significant role in our lives, shaping our experiences and influencing our personal and professional growth. Whether it be a team sport during our formative years or a project team that achieved a remarkable goal, these team experiences leave a lasting impact. In this essay, we will explore the characteristics that differentiate high-performing teams from low-performing ones, drawing upon personal examples and insights from France Hesselbein’s book “Effective Teams: Essentials from Leader to Leader.”

High-Performing Teams: Collaboration at its Best

High-performing teams exhibit several key characteristics that set them apart:

Clear Goals and Shared Vision: High-performing teams have a well-defined purpose and a shared vision of what they aim to achieve. This clarity of purpose serves as a driving force, aligning team members towards a common objective. For instance, during my time as a member of a high school soccer team, we had a clear goal of winning the state championship. This shared vision fostered a strong sense of camaraderie and motivated us to give our best on and off the field.

Effective Communication: Open and frequent communication is crucial for the success of any team. High-performing teams prioritize effective communication, ensuring that information flows freely among team members. This enables them to share ideas, resolve conflicts, and make well-informed decisions. In my experience as part of a high-performing project team in college, we held regular meetings where everyone had an equal opportunity to contribute their thoughts and concerns. This open dialogue facilitated collaboration and innovation.

Complementary Skills and Diversity: High-performing teams are composed of individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds that complement each other. This diversity enables them to tackle complex problems from multiple perspectives, leading to more creative and robust solutions. In my professional life, I have witnessed the power of diversity in a marketing team where individuals with different expertise in areas such as design, analytics, and content creation came together to produce exceptional campaigns.

Low-Performing Teams: Barriers to Success

Conversely, low-performing teams exhibit characteristics that hinder their success:

Lack of Clarity and Direction: Low-performing teams often suffer from a lack of clear goals and direction. Without a common purpose, team members may feel disengaged and struggle to find motivation. I experienced this firsthand while working on a community service project where the objectives were vague, leading to confusion and inefficiency.

Poor Communication: In low-performing teams, communication breakdowns are common, leading to misunderstandings, conflicts, and reduced productivity. A negative team experience I encountered was during a group project in college where some members failed to communicate their progress or challenges effectively. This lack of communication resulted in missed deadlines and subpar outcomes.

Lack of Trust and Collaboration: Low-performing teams often lack trust among members, hindering collaboration and stifling creativity. When team members are unwilling to share ideas or provide support, the overall performance suffers. A negative team experience I recall was when I joined an organization where the team leader fostered an environment of competition rather than collaboration. This created a toxic work atmosphere that hindered productivity.

In reflecting on my personal experiences with high-functioning and dysfunctional teams, a pattern emerges. The success of a team is heavily influenced by clear goals, effective communication, diversity of skills, trust among members, and collaborative practices. High-performing teams embody these characteristics, fostering an environment where individuals can thrive collectively.

In conclusion, the power of teams lies in their ability to bring together individuals with diverse skills and perspectives towards a common goal. High-performing teams excel through clear goals, effective communication, and complementary skills, while low-performing teams struggle due to lack of clarity, poor communication, and lack of trust. By understanding the factors that differentiate these teams, we can strive to cultivate high-performing teams in our personal and professional lives, enabling us to achieve remarkable outcomes together.


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