It is maddening, but perhaps fitting, that the final (and arguably most important) component of highly successful teams is the hardest to define. You might not be able to articulate exactly what comprises chemistry, but most people will tell you: you know it when you see it. And it's important to think about as you're crafting teams and building high-performance relationships.
Although chemistry can be an elusive thing to measure – in my experience, there are two things to think about: are their skill sets complementary and do they genuinely care about each other? You can't have one or the other. Neither component alone guarantees the extraordinary work output that chemistry creates. You must have both.
When each person can contribute fully to a team in a way that uniquely supports and improves the efforts of the other team members – and when each team member gets along and really cares about the other individuals as people, not just as colleagues – that's when a team is truly poised to make magic. There may be some trial and error; sometimes you'll have to do some tinkering to a team to get the chemistry just right, but it's worth it. A high-chemistry team will astound you with what it can achieve.
Chemistry can be an elusive thing to measure but you know it when you see it.
How does your team measure up? As leaders, we're depending on other people in a deeply significant way. And they're depending on us. This is the truest in the case of teams. We can't do our jobs without the support and skills of the teams we build, join, and grow.
There's an elegant symbiosis when we get it right. Everybody wins when we carefully ensure the triumvirate of Competence, Character, and Chemistry are in place. And, that doesn't just apply to our teams; it applies to our own leadership in equal measure. We should assess ourselves inwardly using the same criteria we use to evaluate teams outwardly.
Just as people need us to create the conditions for them to thrive in high-performance teams, they also deserve a leader who has the skills and character to lead and who genuinely cares about them.
Douglas R. Conant is an internationally renowned business leader, New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. He has served as the President of the Nabisco Foods Company, CEO of Campbell Soup Company and Chairman of Avon Products. Today he is the founder and CEO of ConantLeadership.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIin.