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Build the dream team you need. 9 steps show you how

July 25, 2022 - 15 min read


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The importance of teamwork

Six characteristics of a successful team

How to build a strong team

Five tips for building a strong team online

The stages of team development

Your next step

You might be the best at what you do. The thing is, that won’t matter in the long run if you don’t know how to build a great team around you. 

Your startup could be just what your community needs, but if your team members can't work well together, it’ll flop. You could be thrilled to get promoted to team leader at work, but if you can’t build trust with the people you manage, you won’t achieve your team goals

That old saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” is always going to be true. A group of people in sync can build something great from the ground up. Together, you can take advantage of each other’s strengths to do what you never could alone. 

Pulling people together might seem easy, but it takes skill to create a truly successful team. If you want to know how to build a team, recognize that every great collaboration starts with a talented, motivated leader.

That kind of leader knows how to harness each team member’s talents so that together, you can accomplish your biggest goals. 

If you want to be an effective leader and learn how to build a dream team, you’re in the right place. It’s definitely a process, but we’re here to show you how to build your team in nine different ways.


The importance of teamwork

Teamwork is the often underestimated tool that drives every successful business. Without a well-managed team, a company might not meet its full potential.

Each person on your team has the ability to bring their unique skills and talent to the table, but teamwork is required to truly take advantage of that. 

Research supports this. According to one study, 50% of organizations surveyed said that employee teamwork helped them attain their operational goals. That means that the other 50% still struggled to reach their goals, showing the importance of having an effective team.

Putting your employees into groups won’t help you if the team doesn’t have clear goals. They also need to have precise objectives and definite individual responsibilities. 

When your team is aligned, it can be an incredible win for your business. In fact, employees who collaborate often at work are shown to be more engaged, more successful with their goals, and less fatigued

Teamwork also has the power to improve your employees’ well-being because they’ll have a greater sense of connection with each other. And when your employees are happy and productive, your business will be bound to grow as a result. 

Teamwork drives employees to think of the big picture they want to achieve. With that goal in mind, they’ll choose to work together instead of against each other. Teamwork can also break down silos between departments and smaller teams.

By better understanding each other, everyone at the company can then do their jobs better. 

Finally, teamwork is important because it offers great learning opportunities. Junior employees can learn by collaborating with more experienced employees. Senior team members can get the opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills and learn how to build an effective team.

Ultimately, this will create career growth opportunities for everyone, which is a great way to improve employee retention.

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Six characteristics of a successful team

Great teams share a few common characteristics. If you want to learn how to build a team, understanding these is a great place to start. 

Check out the six characteristics of a successful team:

  1. Effective communication between all team members
  2. Diverse employees that bring various perspectives and skills
  3. An eagerness to learn new things and adapt to change
  4. Understanding of appropriate company culture
  5. A leadership style that encourages accountability and support
  6. A goal-oriented mindset

How to build a strong team

It takes hard work to build a great team. Remember to be patient and consistent — over time, you’ll figure out how to build your own dream team. Keep your goal in mind: bringing together an amazing group of people towards a common goal. 

Ready to learn how to build your team?

Start by following these 9 ways to create a strong team:

1. Establish company culture.

A new team needs to know what's expected of them, so you should establish the company culture you want to uphold from the beginning. This will show your team how to behave and how to approach their work.

Don’t forget your job as a leader either — being a good facilitator of these team values will ultimately ensure that everyone stays on the right track.


2. Define everyone's roles and responsibilities.

If you want to learn how to build an effective team, recognize that everyone needs to know what they’re responsible for as individuals. Teamwork is collaborative, but independent work is also required for smooth operations. 

Don’t let your team members get confused about their purpose. You want to make sure they have a clear idea of what they're supposed to accomplish.

The people you’re managing should also understand whom to turn to if there’s any team conflict- or questions about their work.

3. Ensure that everyone feels respected.

On every level, team members should feel respected as both employees and human beings. They aren't robots. Your team members’ personal lives, feelings, and characteristics make up who they truly are.

Show respect to your employees by recognizing their whole person. This will boost their confidence and well-being. It can even increase productivity, which is excellent for the business.

4. Stay as organized as you can.

Good leaders are organized. They pay close attention to team management and regularly check in on how people are doing.

From the moment you start learning how to build a strong team, put organizational processes and project management systems in place. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed and drive your team’s success.


5. Encourage your team members.

A work environment that motivates team players to reach their goals will foster their success. Staying positive with your team also helps create an exciting environment for growth.

When it’s reasonable, accept mistakes without punishment. Then, help your team find the resulting learning opportunities. This kind of encouragement will show that you care about your team’s personal development.

6. Communicate as much as you can.

Effective communication keeps teams connected and in sync. In contrast, a silent team will fall apart and struggle. Encountering a problem? Mention it to your team members and ask their thoughts.

Figured out a solution? Let them know. Have an important company update that affects the team? Tell them clearly and allow space for questions. The more people share, the more comfortable and collaborative they will become.

7. Be open to giving and receiving feedback

We can’t learn to do better without reviewing our mistakes. And even when nothing is wrong, constructive criticism and thorough feedback help team members grow.

Plus, it can proactively prevent issues. When it’s your turn to receive feedback about a problem, remember to be a good listener.

When both leaders and team members can use feedback to their advantage, they’ll be better equipped to tackle future challenges. That’s one of the best ways to learn how to build an effective team for the long term.

8. Celebrate people's wins.

All of this teamwork deserves celebration. Keep an eye out for excellent team performance and don't hesitate to acknowledge it. Some goals might be unattainable for individuals but easy to achieve as a team.

Praising your team's hard work creates an atmosphere that encourages people to take risks and aim higher. Even if they fail, they’ll know they have a team that supports them.

9. Value your team's diversity.

Working with people with different perspectives and experiences will only benefit your business.

Rather than diminish the characteristics that make your employees unique, you should value them. That will help team members feel safe enough to be their authentic selves.

Five tips for building a strong team online

It's one thing to stay connected with your team members when you’re face-to-face at the office. Learning how to build a strong team online is its own struggle and will require different strategies for success. 

Here are five tips for building a strong team when you’re all doing remote work:

  1. Make it a habit to recognize employee contributions.
  2. Have fun and get to know each other with virtual team-building activities.
  3. Avoid micromanaging and overwhelming your team with too many messages at once.
  4. Establish your remote team's culture by highlighting do's and don'ts for communicating online.
  5. Do your best to be flexible and available as a team leader.

The stages of team development

As you’re learning how to build a team, remember that even when you can’t see it, your leadership efforts make a difference. It just takes time for your team to develop the way you want them to. In the meantime, familiarize yourself with the stages of team development:

  • You first meet your team and explain how things will work. This is when team members get their assignments and get to know one another.
  • You start to do team-building exercises to learn how to build team trust and learn how everyone works the best. It's also when you practice your problem-solving skills.
  • Your team meets their first challenge. It's time to put what you've all learned so far to the test. You might succeed, or you might fail. Either way, it's a learning experience.
  • After your first challenge, you regroup and talk about how it went. You continue to work together and learn what your team members need.
  • One day, you achieve your goals. Everyone's hard work has paid off. Celebrate! 

All progress is good progress — even if it looks like baby steps.


Your next step

Knowing how to build a team doesn’t happen overnight. Even a group of the most talented people won’t immediately know how to work well with each other. It takes time and patience to excel at teamwork.

Along the way, you might have team members who are more difficult to work with. But don’t give up — it is possible to learn how to build a cohesive team. Keep working towards your goal of creating a team that’s confident, effective, and can face any challenge that comes their way.

Ultimately, don’t forget to do your part and give yourself compassion as you become the best leader you can be. 

Ready to start leading a successful team? BetterUp can provide the support you need to meet your full potential and improve your leadership skills. With the right guidance, you can become the best version of yourself.

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Published July 25, 2022

Shonna Waters, PhD

Vice President of Alliance Solutions

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