How do you build a good team? Here’s how:

If you are a manager or a leader, you should know what makes a good team. Building a good team is a tricky task. As people, we’re naturally good at working together, but there are so many ways that our hardwired teamworking tendencies can be confused and overridden.

The answer to what makes an effective team depends on the team itself and what it’s trying to achieve. When you have too many clashing approaches trying to work together, you can often end up with chaos rather than harmony. So what is a team and how do you make a good one?

What makes a good team - A team in a modern office, working together after Team building.

What is a team?

A team is a group that aims to achieve a goal that any one of its members wouldn’t be capable of on their own. Teamwork is often seen as a human trait, but we see it all the time in nature, where some of the most impressive feats of teamwork on planet Earth can be found.

A team of people can start a business from nothing. A team of drones can move in coordinated patterns to create dazzling light displays. The concept of a team hinges on this idea of harmony and coordination. When you have a discordant group that can’t and won’t listen to each other, doing random things with no clear purpose or goal, it’s hard to earnestly call that a ‘team’.

So, it’s not enough just to gather a group of people and say you’ve got a team. But we’ll get to what makes a strong team shortly.

Why is a team important?

Some of the most important breakthroughs and discoveries ever made have been through efforts that only a team could have achieved. One person working alone could never have put a man on the moon, nor cracked the key to defeating a disease.

Sir Isaac Newton famously said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Despite the incredible discoveries he made about gravity and the forces of the universe, even he knew that his work was buoyed and made possible by the contributions of others.

None of us have all the answers, and our perspectives are always limited in some way. Working with others and adding their knowledge, skills, and experiences to our own is how we achieve bigger and better.

Having the support of a team also helps when things get hard and you need to slow down for a while. Good teammates will pick up the slack and help you do your part without burning out.

What makes a strong team?

First and foremost: a strong team believes in the team itself.

You can gather a team of highly skilled, bright people, but their ability to work as a team won’t be up to par if they’re not ready to actually work with others. Some people work best and most comfortably on their own, but a group of people who are each doing their own thing isn’t really a team.

We believe that a strong team is built from some core principles, including:

Trust:

Trust is a huge part of what makes an effective team. Without it, people can’t take each other at their word, they aren’t as willing to let each other handle tasks, and accountability goes out the window. In short, there’s nothing bonding team members together.

Members of a good team believe that their colleagues can handle the tasks at hand and seek help when they need it. They can’t be certain, but they have faith – and that is the very basis of trust. Micromanaging others is the opposite of trusting them, so this is best avoided in a team.

Communication:

Teams can easily become fractured over time when members start to lose track of who’s doing what. In fairness, a lack of communication isn’t always a discipline problem. When there’s a lot to do and deadlines are looming, it’s easy to forget to keep your teammates in the loop about completed jobs and what you’re working on next.

Good communication keeps everybody informed and aware. Even if it’s just a morning email to let everybody know that traffic on the motorway will mean some late arrivals, taking a few moments to keep up communication within a team is fantastic for morale and coordination.

Flexibility and adaptability:

Personalities within a team might sometimes overlap, but everybody is different. Some people will move to the front and gravitate to leadership roles, whereas others will be happy to quietly do their part off to the side. A good team can not only work through these differences, but embrace them and turn them into strengths.

Not only that, but many workplaces now use hybrid working models. This means that teams may need to incorporate different communication methods into their work to keep everybody included. Some people prefer to do things face-to-face, but things should be kept flexible for those who don’t (or can’t).

Bottom line: a strong team is able to hold itself together through challenges, resolve disputes, and keep on top of a fair and balanced system of work that sees every person’s contribution.

How do you build a good team?

A good team has to be built with the help of its members. While leadership is important for team building, it can’t be done from the outside without any effort from the people making up the team itself.

With that in mind, building a good team requires fostering trust between its members and encouraging their ability to cooperate. Team members need to see the worth in each other’s work and feel the direct benefits of their contributions to the group.

This creates a work environment in which every participant has opportunities to grow, whilst aligning their work to meet the goals of the business or organisation. When the resolve and motivation of the individual members is strengthened, the team as a whole benefits and becomes stronger.

Teams need to be willing to worth with each other to be their best, and that can take time. Fostering healthy relationships between members can be helped in many ways, but focused team training is often the best course for the most defined results.

Difference between a group and a team

A group is simply the result of gathering together people or things. Many of us move in groups every day as we commute to work or walk through a supermarket, but that doesn’t mean we’re close or even aware of the people around us helping to make that group.

A team is a type of group, but one with more purpose. A ‘team’ is special, and it’s the result of a group whose individuals know their roles, trust in their contributions, and feel aligned in their goals. Teams form bonds that allow them to work together even over large distances and time zones; a group is gone the second it disbands.

What can you bring to a team?

You! Your ideas, your spirit and your personality, your unique way of looking at the world and giving something back to it.

Sometimes, all a team needs is a new member to turn it on its head and revitalise it. No good team should hinge on a single member, but that doesn’t mean that you can bring an essential aspect to your team.

Not only that, but you can support your teammates and provide help when they need it most. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and you’ll likely find that your team spirit is repaid in future. The question of what you can bring to the team always has a positive answer.

What is a team player?

A team player is somebody that pays as much attention to the needs of the team as they do to their own.

They recognise when somebody needs to go the extra mile and sacrifice their time to make something the best it can be. They actively reach out to other members and pick them up when they’re down. They’ve got their head in the game!

In a word, team players are selfless. They’re the people you turn to when the going gets tough, and a whole team of team players is a thing of beauty.

What is team training?

Team training is the process of building up a team, and strengthening bonds so that its members leave with stronger commitments and fresh ideas of how to be the best they can be. With Team Academy, it’s asking every single member to get involved and encouraging them to form a strong grasp of what makes an effective team.

Team building doesn’t work very well if anybody is coasting; it needs gritty conversations and genuine involvement. That might sound exhausting, but the results are well worth the work.

Team Academy has a unique and fun approach to team building. We don’t sit you down and lecture you – that’s not our style.

Our scenarios, built from the ground up for your specific needs, build genuine trust between team members by putting them just a little outside their comfort zones so that they can truly flourish.

To find out more about our exhilarating experiences, get in touch today.

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    • the five behaviors of a cohesive team
    • belbin
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