Smart Teams

organisation, cooperation

Through Slashdot an article on what makes teams smart. Not having smart people, but these points:

First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.

Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.

Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

Now, my experience is perhaps more with efficient teamwork rather than intelligent teamwork, but from that experience I find point one to be very true. I suppose discussion participation is a measure of participation in general. Point two seems to me another way of saying how well you know your team mates (empathy as someone on /. calls it), and that sounds obvious, if participation indeed supports a ‘smarter’ team. For the final point my experience isn’t strongly correlated, I’ve worked well and bad together with men and women alike. I could go along with a statement that women in meetings cut pointless discussions short more often than men, because men don’t like to leave challenge on the table.

Anyhoo, interesting stuff, since almost all jobs I know involve teamwork and many people are less than satisfied about their colleagues.