Building Effective Teams in the Workplace

It seems as if everybody is talking about the importance of building teams in the workplace, but few know how to do this effectively. In this blog, we are going to look at aspects of building a team, which managers and team leaders can focus on, in order to develop and mold effective, focused work teams.

We will look at the importance of team members’ commitment to each other and to the team mission. Other necessary keys to successfully build teams in the workplace that we will consider include; the competence of team members, team ownership and control, communicating team expectations, team coordination, team context and team collaboration. Attention will also be given to the importance of communication within the team, among team members and between team leaders and team members.

Building Teams in the Workplace
Building Effective Teams

Commitment to the Team

Making sure that all members feel that they are part of the team is essential in building an effective team in the workplace. Create an atmosphere where the members want to be part of the team and are not forced to be part of the team. All the members need to be committed to each other and to the mission of the team.

Do the team members perceive their service as valued by the organization? Team members need to be excited and challenged by opportunities arising within the team to improve personally and the team as a whole. They need to anticipate recognition and expect their skills to grow and develop on the team.

Ability and Skills of Team Members

Team members should be chosen carefully, ensuring that they have the right skill, competence and expertise for the effective functioning of the team. Ongoing training should be provided to ensure that skills and knowledge level are kept up to date; team members should have easy access to help when required. Members should have all the resources, strategies and support needed to achieve the goals of the team.

Ownership in the Team

How much freedom, empowerment and ownership should be given to the members of the team to accomplish the mission of the team? Team members should clearly understand their boundaries and how far they may go in pursuit of solutions. Limitations in time or capital resources should be defined at the start of the project. The team’s reporting relationship and accountability should be clearly understood by all the team members when building an effective team. It is also the organization’s responsibility to clearly define the team’s authority structures. The team and the organization need to be aligned in direction and purposes. When building a team, in the workplace, all the members of the team must be accountable to each other for project timelines, commitments and results.

Team Expectations

When building a team, members of the team should clearly understand why the team was created, and there should be clear expectations of what is required from them early on in the process of building the team. Clearly define the overall direction and objectives to ensure that all team members know where their job and team outcomes fit within the bigger strategy of the company. They should know why the team was created and what the organization expects from the team.

It is crucial for team members to know how they are performing within the team through goal setting, evaluation, feedback and accountability. It is critical for management to communicate plans and expectations to create an organization in which all components are connected.

Team Coordination

All the teams in the organization should be coordinated by a central leadership which should be available to assist the teams and direct them to success. Teams should be coordinated, and priorities and resource allocation planned across departments, to enable cross-sectional and multi-departmental teams to work together efficiently. When building a team in the work place, traditional departmental thinking should be discouraged and customer-focused and process focused orientation, should be encouraged.

Team Vision

When building an effective team, members of the team need to know why they are in the team and what are their functions and goals. The vision of the leadership need to be articulated to all the members of the team. Leadership vision permeates the workplace and is manifested in actions and beliefs of employees. Every team member should be able to clearly define the importance of their team in accomplishing corporate goals. It is necessary for the team to understand where they fit in, in the context of the organization goals, principles, vision and values.

Team Association and Collaboration

A team leader should understand team progress and stages of development in building a team. Team members and team leaders should know and understand the roles and responsibilities of the team. An appropriate strategy should be in place to accomplish an action plan.

For a team to be successful, all the members of the team should be able to work together professionally and interpersonally. A joint approach to problem solving, process improvement and goal measurement must be encouraged.

Team Communication

There should always be clear communication about the priorities of the various tasks with in the team. When building a team, all members should understand the complete context for the existence of the team. It is therefore vital that management consistently provide relevant information, regarding the organization, to all the teams involved.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Team members must be encouraged to communicate clearly and honestly with each other. They must be allowed to bring diverse opinions to the table, and necessary conflicts raised and addressed. Establish methods whereby feedback can be given and received on a regular basis by all the members of the team.

This is a lot of information to process, but if addressed one step at a time it will go a long way towards building an effective team within the work place.


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