How to Build an Effective Team—3 Expert Tips

“Talent wins games, but intelligence and teamwork win championships.”– Michael Jordan

In the game of business, everyone wants to win championships. But there is more to winning than getting a group of people into a conference room. You have to know how to build an effective team from the ground up.

Here are three simple ways to build and nurture a strong team for your business.

Establish Yourself As A Leader

You can’t have a strong team if you’re not a strong leader. Each member of your team should know that you’re the leader. But being a leader doesn’t mean lording your hierarchy over the rest of your team. It means listening, understanding, and guiding your team to success.

Start by doing some introspection. Build awareness of how you approach your leadership duties.

Are you willing to listen to suggestions? How do you communicate with your team? Do you stand ready to answer their questions or do you outsource that task? put together a great leadership checklist to inspire your introspection session, so start there.

See what your answers reveal and work towards improving your leadership skills

Foster a Communicative Environment

A post about team building wouldn’t be complete without discussing communication.

The Harvard Business Review researched various teams across different industries to study their communication and how that affected performance outcomes. Their research revealed three distinct forms of communication that improve team performance. These are Energy, Engagement, and Exploration.

Energy, they determined, is the energetic exchanges among team members. It represents the way team members acknowledge each other.

Engagement is the distribution of that energy among team members. Teammates should have an equal amount of energy dispersed between them to ensure an effective team.

Exploration represents engagement and communication between members outside of their comfort zone. Creative teams, in particular, should foster an environment for outside exploration beyond the team.

Psychological safety is the foundation on which all teams should be built. Google spent three years figuring this out, and it was the only trait of every single of their top performing teams. In my research of studying the best sales teams, every single one of them has had this.

If you can find a way to combine these four factors and use them with your team, you can create a more an engaging environment for communication and team building. You’ll see much higher productivity and innovation.

Use Team Building Games

If you want to learn how to build an effective team, you shouldn’t overlook team building games. Of course, knowing when to use them is also important. Don’t use them as a punishment or to highlight the team’s failures. Only use them to build up the team.

While we highly recommend the Cards Against Mundanity, other team building games can further engagement as well.

One game, if you’re in sales, is to have team members to grab an item from their desk and assemble a team to create a logo, marketing pitch, and slogan within a set time. This exercise makes your team think on their feet—a quality they must have to be the best at whatever they do.

Wrapping it Up

Building an effective team is no easy task. However, with a bit of ingenuity, communication, and engagement you can create a high performing team. By using team building games and by sharpening your leadership skills, you can create a team that wins championships instead of games.

Jason Treu is an executive coach that works with individuals and teams on leadership and performance. Debuted at TEDxWilmington, his free team building, Cards Against Mundanity, is being played in hundreds of organizations to increase performance, creativity, and collaboration. His book, Social Wealth, has sold more than 50,000 copies.

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