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The Secret to Great Teams

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain Media

Science, Arts, Social Sciences, Performing Arts

4.639.3K Ratings

🗓️ 25 September 2023

⏱️ 50 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


It's easy to think that the best teams are collections of highly accomplished or talented individuals, working under a skilled leader. But that's no guarantee of success. Psychologist Anita Woolley says the best teams are far more than the sum of their parts, and they share certain basic characteristics.

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This is Hidden Brain. I'm Shankar Vedanta. We all know what it feels like to work on a great team.


People like and trust one another.


Teammates communicate with each other.


Meetings are crisp and effective. At the end of the day, things just


get done. We've all been on bad teams too. Here, interminable meetings become a substitute for doing actual work. People undermine and undercut


one another. Productivity is low and morale even lower.


There is something mysterious about great teams.


We know what they are when we see them, but how exactly do they come together?


Is there a way to figure out the secret sauce of great teams and build teams based on this recipe?


Today we take a deep dive into the science of teamwork. We'll explore one of the most common errors we make in constructing teams and what effective teams do in order to punch far above their weight.


How to build great teams, this week on Hidden Brain.


There are times in our lives when we become lost in the things we do. Time vanishes. Minutes pass, then hours. We don't notice that the sun has set or that we forgot to eat lunch.


Psychologists sometimes call this a state of flow.


Now, flow is supposed to be an individual state,


but the same thing sometimes happens on effective teams. We feel in sync with other members


of our group. Tasks get done almost effortlessly. At Carnegie Mellon University, psychologist Anita Williams Woolley studies the science of teamwork.


She has explored not only why some teams click, but why others don't.


It turns out you can learn a lot by observing teams where people are constantly at loggerheads.


Anita Woolley, welcome to Hidden Brain.


Hi, thanks for having me.


Anita, I understand you grew up in a small town in Maine and at the age of 14 you got a job


waiting tables at a local restaurant and it gave you an early glimpse into the nature of teams.


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