Google’s 5 Key Things That Make An Amazing Team

What makes a good team? Well according to multi-national corporation Google, it’s not about who you’re working with, but how you’re working.

By now you’re probably aware of Google’s headquarters – a (not so) mystical land where employees can enjoy free gourmet food and snacks, free access to fitness classes, gyms, sleeping pods and are encouraged to participate in intramural sports. It’s no wonder then that Google jobs are some of the most sought-after positions in the entire tech industry, and employees are some of the happiest in the world.

Julia Rozovsky, an analyst at Google’s HR, set to find out what makes Google’s teams so effective. Over two years, they conducted over 200 interviews with Google employees and looked at more than 250 attributes of the 180+ active Google teams.

According to the study, they found that it’s not so much about who is on a team (or even the perks offered by the employers), but rather how the team members interact, structure their work and view their contributors. The below points are the five key dynamics that set successful teams apart from other teams, according to Google.

1 / 5

Psychological safety

“Team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.”

Basically, a good team depends on the assumption that you can take risks and offer suggestions without feeling insecure or embarrassed. Julia from Google said this point was “far and away the most important of the five dynamics” as it was essentially the underpinning of the other four. Feeling comfortable with the team you’re in means you’re more likely to offer suggestions, go out on a limb and be more receptive to criticism. It’s all about that mutual respect.

2 / 5


“Team members get things done on time and meet Google’s high bar for excellence.”

Can you count on your team to do high quality work each and every time? Think about those days of group uni assignments: there was always that one person who didn’t contribute the same amount as the others, which lead to a lot of resentment among the team. In the workforce, this is even more of an issue – everyone must be pulling their weight and be dependable for the team to be as successful as possible.

3 / 5

Structure and clarity

“Team members have clear roles, plans and goals.”

Is everyone assigned a role? If so, have they been given specific goals to work toward? And how will they execute that? Work on that team structure guys!

4 / 5


“Work is personally important to team members”

Teams should be working on projects that are personally important to each member, otherwise engagement levels cake take a serious drop. Think about it: can you be fully engaged in a project if your heart isn’t 100% in it? Probably not.

5 / 5


“Team members think their work matters and creates change.”

Similar to the above point, for a team to be successful, all team members must believe that the work they’re doing matters. According to a recent study in the Academy of Management Journal, employees excel when they feel their work will help their colleagues, customers and the community. Assistant professor Jasmine Hu says “the social aspect of teams is very important because many times people are just not motivated to work for money alone.” Instead, she says, many employees really want the opportunity to impact positively on the lives of others.

Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.

Lead image: Office Snap Shots