How to Build a Successful Work Team

Thomas Hughes
October 2, 2023

The ability to build and maintain a successful work team is paramount in achieving your business’s organizational goals. From my perspective, a thriving team consists of a group of people, led by a strong leader, who work well together in order to achieve a desired outcome. While it may seem straightforward to many, assembling a team that communicates and works together well is no easy task. Continue reading as I dive into seven key ways your company can create high-performing teams. 

Seven Tips on How to Build a Successful Work Team 

1. Set Clear and SMART Goals 

For teams to thrive, they must have clear direction and purpose. Whether through the direction of a supervisor or the joint efforts of the entire team, goals need to be set. However, goals lacking purpose, attainable outcomes, or clear timeframes are almost as ineffective as having no goals at all. In order to best achieve success, create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. These SMART goals keep the team moving forward with clarity, purpose, and motivation. With this type of framework, each individual team member is aware of their specific role and responsibilities. SMART goals are essential in helping teams navigate challenges and maintain consistent progress toward accomplishing their objectives. 

2. Communicate Effectively 

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful team, from leadership all the way down to the most junior team member. If there is one weak link in the chain, it could potentially lead to disaster for the entire team. 

From a leadership perspective, it’s imperative the leader connects with their team and makes sure every member has a clear understanding of individual and team goals. With everyone on the same page regarding their role and responsibilities, the greater the likelihood of limited confusion and success achievement. 

Conflict resolution is a different, but equally important aspect of effective communication. While it’s inevitable that your team members will disagree at times, it is imperative that they are able to quickly resolve those issues. Petty disagreements derail progress, so it’s necessary to ensure those issues are settled before they ever really become a problem through direct, honest communication. 

One way companies provide guidance on effective communication, especially between team members who communicate differently, is through DISC assessments.  These scientifically valid and reliable psychometrics take a deep dive into how people prefer to communicate and how diverse communication styles can still work together effectively.  The results of these assessments are integrated into every aspect of the employee lifecycle, from onboarding to performance management.  

3. Create a Strong Culture 

Creating a strong culture is essential in building successful work teams and in achieving overall business success. One main benefit of having a strong culture is that it helps the business attract and retain top talent. Some job seekers are only motivated by money, but the majority are just trying to find a work “home” where they feel valued, have opportunities for learning and growth, and share common beliefs with the rest of their team. While successful work teams require many great qualities, talent is certainly amongst the most important. It’s imperative that your business creates and fosters a culture that enables it to attract, retain, and develop a talented workforce because of your strong company culture. 

4. Hold Everyone Accountable 

Simply put, there is no room for weak links on successful, high-performing teams. Each individual team member has a distinct, important role and they need to be held accountable for their actions and work product. 

Slacking off or allowing others to do your work for you is unacceptable. Assuming your company culture fosters a space where honest feedback is appreciated, these kinds of issues should be addressed in a timely, professional, and constructive manner. While it might not be easy for your teammate to hear, dealing with these concerns is vital for individual and team success. A culture of accountability empowers others to take ownership of their actions or inactions, simultaneously promoting a shared responsibility and commitment to achieving goals. 

5. Embrace Diversity 

All high-performing teams should be built of individuals with different cultural, gender, generational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. When teams lack diversity and consist solely of one type of person, it significantly limits an individual’s ability to learn and grow as people and employees.  Embracing diversity brings a multitude of different perspectives and life experiences to the team, which ultimately leads to a huge boost in creativity and innovation. Similarly, people from different backgrounds also come with different thought processes and problem-solving skills. A combination of creativity, innovation, and problem-solving abilities almost always leads to success. 

6. Be Open to Giving and Receiving Feedback 

While receiving feedback can be difficult to hear, providing it may be even tougher. Regardless, having open communication channels is essential to growth.  Shying away from feedback is doing a huge disservice to yourself and the entire team. The intent of feedback is not to cause hurt feelings but to offer constructive input that will help others learn and grow as professionals. Prior to offering feedback, prepare yourself and remember that what you’re about to communicate likely won’t be easy for the receiving party to hear. Don’t solely focus on the negatives, but highlight some positives about the individual as well. 

Conversely, try not to take it personally if you’re on the receiving end of the feedback. Your teammate or supervisor is seeing the situation from a different perspective and is only trying to help you succeed.  Your initial reaction may be to get defensive or refuse to consider their views, but be open-minded. Accepting feedback is pivotal in your personal and professional development. 

7. Recognize Team Contributions 

Recognizing individual and team contributions drives success in multiple ways. In short, being noticed in a positive way feels good. When your peers and superiors appreciate your efforts, you are much more likely to be satisfied in your current position and way less likely to begin searching for a new one. The stability that accompanies employee retention is key in establishing relationships built on trust and communication, which ultimately leads to success. 

Circling back to the earlier tip about establishing SMART goals, recognizing your team’s effort reaffirms that everyone is aligned and accomplishing their assigned tasks. This affirmation increases team morale while simultaneously providing evidence that your team is on the right path.  

Looking to Build Your Successful Work Team?

Ultimately, every business needs successful work teams to achieve success. At Red Clover, our specialized RPO services can identify top-tier talent that seamlessly aligns with your company’s culture. If you are interested in leveraging our expert team of consultants, and our proven processes, to help keep your business moving in the right direction reach out today!

Photo Credit – Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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