How to build a great team

Imagine leading a team of people enthused about and energised by their work. Some of the team members may come and go and work at odd hours but however they work, they turn in quality results. They can work on their own or in sub groups and when the time comes, they all pull together to get the work out on time. How can you build a team like that?

  • Bring on board team members with good interpersonal skills because team success is correlated with the average social sensitivity of team members, not their average intelligence. Members of high-performing teams listen and talk to each other, about social matters as well as work-related matters. They’re so in tune with each other and with what each team member is trying to achieve that they know what information or help people need before they ask for it. Communication based on trust and mutual regard is everything.
  • Build a culture of trust, because unless people trust each other do do their jobs well, to lend them a helping hand when it’s needed and so on, they can’t work together well. How trustworthy is a team? Only as trustworthy as the least trustworthy team member.
  • Mix it up. The same study cited above also found that high-performing teams are made up of both sexes. Effective teams are also made up of people with different personality types.
  • Make sure everyone on the team understands the team’s overarching purpose in the same way. This acts like a team mission statement to show the light at the end of the tunnel (where we’re going together) and guide decision making and day-to-day behaviour.
  • Provide clear individual and team goals and make sure people know how they contribute to the rest of the team’s efforts. When people don’t know what’s expected of them and why their contributions count, it’s hard to fan the internal fire of motivation. When team members need training or coaching to reach their goals–provide it.
  • Have some fun. It’s really hard to do a good job when you’re physically or emotionally miserable; a bit of jollity builds bonds, enhances creativity, improves communication and makes everyone feel better.
  • Blow your team’s horn. Visibility is important, so make sure you let others know how great your team is and what they’re achieving.
  • Be a good leader. Look after both the task side of teamwork and the process side.

Have you noticed how each of these relates to the other? Like any living system, all the components are interrelated.