We all belong to teams of some kind – at home, at work, at play. Sometimes teams we are on accomplish great things – but sometimes they fall short, often far short. Ever wonder why? I have.

That’s why a short piece under “Gray Matter” caught my eye. It made me think and in many ways cleared up some perceptions – and especially some misperceptions – I had in the past. Here are some nuggets:

  • Nowadays, though we may still idolize the charismatic leader or creative genius, almost every decision of consequence is made by a group.
  • Groups of smart people can make horrible decisions — or great ones. In other words, some teams were simply smarter than others.
  • The smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.
    • 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.

Intrigued? Read more here.


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