How to build a great team

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Who is on a team matters much, much less than how a team interacts. 

Whether we’re fully aware of it or not, most of us have seen a great team in action – be it something as dramatic as watching the All Blacks dominating their opponents, or the simple experience of receiving good, timely service at your local cafe.  

The benefits of good team work are universally understood… but what makes a great team tick, and how do you build one? 

Below are some handy strategies to help organisations build a positive and effective team climate. 

Develop a psychologically safe workplace  

That sounds serious but it’s more about creating an environment where people feel able to speak and be heard. 

A great example of this is tech giant Google. Google wanted to get to the bottom of how to build a perfect team and it turned out it took them a fair while to find out. After commissioning extensive research, they came to this conclusion:

"The most important attribute of a high-performing team is not who leads it, who’s on it, how many people or even where it is, it’s the ‘psychological safety’ of the team. That means everyone at the table feels like they have the opportunity to speak up, and that others are actually listening to them. "

The researchers found that teams did less well if only one person or a small group spoke all the time. 

Google also found that good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — in other words they were intuitive about how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. Google concluded if you had the choice of a serious-minded Team A, or a free-flowing (but noisy) Team B, you should probably opt for Team B.  

Get to know each other 

Again it seems a simple thing to do but creating an environment where people are able to establish relationships and relate to one another is a great contributor to team bonding. 

In Maori culture this is known as Whakawhanaungatanga – a concept of reciprocal and responsive relationships. In practical terms, you can start a meeting with a short period of time spent getting to know each other, introducing everyone around the table. Work social events and initiatives like walking meetings all create ways for team-members to get to know each other and see each other in a different light.  

A great way to get to know each other a little better is to spend sometime learning about each others character strengths – doing so can lead to better relationships and a deeper connection. And All Right? make it easy with this free strengths quiz.

Celebrate wins 

Great teams recognise talent and achievement – they also have fun. 

This can easily be over-done but can equally be a great tool to connect people, motivate teams and most importantly – bring the fun. 

‘Celebration boards’ where people can post compliments or pin up examples of working successes can be a great tool. Or noticeboards intended just for fun. For example, Westpac Bank has a Wall of Happiness where staff are encouraged to put funny stuff up. The idea is to make people smile and lift the mood at the workplace. Quiz nights and themed days can all be worked into the mix. 

Understanding what each other value 

The All Right? Poster generator is a great tool to encourage staff to talk about what makes them and each other happy. 

Everyone has their own ideas on what makes them feel good. Whether it’s catching up with loved ones, spending time with a good book, or enjoying a walk around Hagley Park, the possibilities are endless! 

Find out how to make your poster here, and the All Right? team will send it out to you.