Steps to Building Highly Effective Teams

Jun 04 2024 | Einblicke
A team of colleagues working around a desk.

Every business wants the very best teams to effectively deliver results and reach business objectives. But building highly effective teams is more than just having the very best talent come together. It’s about building an enjoyable and motivating environment, setting achievable and defined roles, ensuring colleagues collaborate well, allowing for risks to be made and much more. We help to define what characteristics really make up a highly effective team, and what can be done to foster these characteristics.

What characteristics define a highly effective team?

Other than the obvious traits, like high performance and efficiency, that define a highly effective team, there are other characteristics that help to shape this success, including:

  1. Clear leadership

  2. Defined goals

  3. Collaboration, communication & creativity

  4. Trust & transparency

  5. Risk-taking

Clear leadership

To help unify the team and set them on a path to shared goals, successful teams have clear leadership. This doesn’t mean that your team needs to feel hierarchical, but with one person or a group of individuals leading the charge, performance and efficiency tend to be far higher. As a result, establishing clear leadership can have a big impact on developing highly effective teams.

Defined goals

An effective team will always establish their goals before starting anything. This helps set a clear path to the overall objectives, it helps to align these objectives with the business ones, while also assigning individual roles to help team members know exactly what they’re working on and what they’re working towards. Without these goals and assigned roles, efficiency and productivity can be stifled.

Collaboration, communication & creativity

A successful team is often characterised by a collaborative structure with highly effective communication skills, which ultimately defines a creative and fruitive environment within the team.

Trust & transparency

To be successful, trust and transparency are key. Teams that have this trust and openness often accomplish more, because they believe in what they’re doing. This trust can also contribute to greater communication and collaboration, boosting efficacy.

Risk-taking with shared accountability

Sometimes, to be successful, you have to take risks. Highly effective teams are often far more innovative and willing to take risks, especially when the prospective gains are far higher than the losses. Without risk-taking, new ideas, concepts or theories wouldn’t exist.

With risk-taking, however, comes accountability, and rather than pointing fingers, a true characteristic of an effective team is shared accountability for challenges or failures that are faced.

Tips to building a highly effective team

1. Set goals that relate to business objectives

By setting goals, you’re essentially setting a framework for team members to work within, as well as giving them a drive to work towards a desired outcome. This can have positive repercussions, like increased engagement and motivation.

By strategically aligning these goals with business ones, you’re building a workforce, with set roles and a framework to follow, to bring results effectively and efficiently.

2. Define roles within a team

Ensuring that, within the goals and objectives that are set, employees have specific assigned roles can hugely boost productivity and efficiency, while also reducing the effects of social loafing.

3. Maximise employee skills

To build the most effective team, ensuring that you’re maximising the skills of each employee is key. While in most jobs, some people will excel in particular things more than others, and vice versa, when thinking about how best to maximise your team’s potential, making the most of employee strengths is going to be valuable.

4. Set expectations

By setting expectations from the get-go, each team member then knows exactly what is expected from them. Not only will this set them up with the knowledge of what a good job looks like, it will also provide them with vital information like deadlines to stick to, support that will be provided and any processes to stick to.

5. Strive for a diverse team

Having a diverse workforce can provide a space of creativity, with new and unique ways of thinking, which might lead to innovative and successful ideas. These innovative ideas are the basis of an effective team.

There are also plenty of other benefits to having diversity within teams and organisations. Having regular exposure to new ideas, new cultures, new lifestyles and so on can benefit people at a personal level too, making them more aware of innate biases they might have, and helping them re-think these stereotypes – so learn to foster diversity and inclusion.

6. Give flexibility for risk-taking

Taking risks at work can help reduce boring, mundane processes, and instead facilitate more creative and innovative ideas. So, giving the flexibility to make mistakes can often lead to greater success in the long run. It also allows employees to learn and develop new skills, reaching their full potential and contributing further to a holistically effective team or workforce.

7. Recognise and reward

By recognising and rewarding employees who genuinely deserve it, you can incentivize good work, boost motivation and avoid an unhappy workforce, all of which helps to foster a successful team.

8. Invest in L&D

Learning and development is a key way that businesses can help employees grow and succeed. And when employees are thriving, so will a business. Because your business would be nothing without its employees. So, to build and develop the very best, most effective teams, invest in the individuals that make up those teams. Whether that be through learning hubs, online courses or unique and personalised coaching, look at how you can help individuals develop to be the best version of themselves.

9. Establish yourself as a strong leader

Leadership should inspire and motivate people to do their very best work. Establishing yourself as a strong leader can help drive individuals to do well, whilst also establishing a strong presence to help dictate and drive workflows forward in the most effective way possible. Without effective leadership, you might find team motivation and engagement drops, productivity and efficiency decline and performance therefore wavers. Get help in establishing your leadership skills, or the skills of the leaders within your company, with specified leadership coaching.

10. Try and promote a good working environment and culture

Without a team culture and a happy, healthy workplace environment, it’s likely that employees won’t be as dedicated or driven. A good workplace culture can impact employee happiness, motivation and engagement, alongside many other factors that can impact how effective a team really is. Developing a continual learning culture can also impact the growth and development of your teams, contributing to further successes.

Often, team-building is a great way of improving the culture at work, by allowing teammates and colleagues to get to know each other better, building positive relationships and improving communication and collaboration.

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