Top 6 Team Building Tips for Highly Productive Teams

Our team building tips are based on universal truths. Great leaders know that effective teamwork doesn’t just happen – it’s intentional. Teamwork occurs when a leader recognizes the link between open and honest collaboration and a higher quality outcome. 

When team members are not connected, they are more likely to focus solely on their own area of responsibility and not be concerned with the quality of contributions made by other team members.  However, when there is a strong connection among team members, everyone wants everyone to succeed, because there is a sense of community - a purpose greater than one's self.  

team building tips

A primary challenge faced by leaders today is how best to create, maintain and improve teamwork within their team and the organization at large. When first presented with this challenge, it can sometimes feel daunting, but not to worry - we have the answer - it's all about the entire team taking ownership of the outcome.

How does a leader ensure that her team members are engaged in the process of team building and maintain a high degree of ownership? Simple, you talk about it as a team. Start off by initiating a discussion with the team about why teamwork is important. Create a list of all the benefits of teamwork.

The list of benefits might include: Increased trust, commitment and loyalty among staff; improved employee/customer satisfaction and retention; reduced costs, product returns and customer complaints.  This list can be quite long and it's important to list all the benefits of teamwork for your entire team to see. 

Next, talk about who's responsible for supporting and contributing to a work environment where there is strong teamwork. The answer is that everyone on the team is equally responsible. And this is your opportunity as the leader to demonstrate that you trust your team.  Let them know that because the entire team is accountable for supporting great teamwork, you will be assigning each team member to come up with and lead a fun and effective team building activity for upcoming staff meetings. 

"After mutual respect and understanding are achieved, it is possible to establish real, sincere relationships, which is the foundation of a solid long-term collaboration."

- Ron Garan, Astronaut

No, you don't have do team building events every week, but you should do something at least once a month to keep the topic front and center. As the leader, you need to coordinate and lead the first team building exercise so you can demonstrate an example of what kind of team building activities you are looking for.

Team building activities don't have to cost a lot of money. Encourage your team to get creative. If a team member isn't comfortable leading the group, pair them up so they can support each other to accomplish the task and feel well supported throughout the process. 

To build some synergy among your team, be sure to recognize and reward team members for their team building efforts.  

Next, let's get to those top tips for effective team building...

Top 6 Team Building Tips

Our top team building tips is for leaders looking to improve the level of teamwork and cooperation among their team members.

Each of these top 6 team building tips provides great ideas to maximize the level of teamwork and cooperation with your team.

Team Building Tip #1

Connect to Engage! - take time to develop trust and rapport with each team member. Share your background and experiences and seek to find something you both have in common. You’ll find that it’s a very small world out there and it’s usually pretty easy to find one or two points of connection, which is the first step toward developing a higher degree of trust.

Trust is a must when it comes to driving employee engagement. If your associates don’t trust each other, the team suffers, the customers suffer and the bottom line will suffer.

Team Building Tip #2

Lead The Way / Role Model - set clear expectations in the minds of your employees by showing them firsthand how to accomplish the task in front of them. Role modeling is critical in building your credibility as a leader as it demonstrates to employees that you aren't asking anything of them that you are not willing or able to do yourself.

When employees know that you have been where they are; that you have done what they are doing; and that you appreciate the importance and difficulty for what they do, they will more quickly trust that you have their best interests at heart.

Team Building Tip #3

Empower Your Team - allow team members to take educated risks. Any employee worth keeping can manage some level of risk. Too often leaders have a hard time giving up control to others, but that’s the leader’s failing, not the employee’s.  Don’t limit your team’s ability to learn, develop and grow their skillset. They can handle it, and when they do it will make your life a lot easier.

If a team member makes a mistake, that is okay so long as they don’t repeat the mistake. Mistakes are how we learn. On the other hand, expect to be pleasantly surprised, and even impressed, by those who have been secretly waiting for their time to shine.

Team Building Tip #4

Reward & Recognize - Seek out opportunities to praise. Catch people doing things right and publicly praise them for their efforts. Acknowledgement of a job well done is a powerful act of kindness and the sign of a thoughtful leader.

Recognition can come in many forms, and it doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive.  In fact, it can be as simple as praising an employee for a job well done during your next staff meeting. Praise can also come in the form of a hand written note, or a fun ecard message

"Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people."

- Steve Jobs

Team Building Tips continued...

Team Building Tip #5

Coach To Life-Balance - everyone struggles at times to balance the heavy demands of family life and work related responsibilities. Encouraging employees to take time to "refuel", tells them that you care about them as an individual. Your people will be more committed to you and the business when they know that you are committed to their well-being. 

Coaching team members to balance life's many demands with work responsibilities is an action that demonstrates a leader's caring, understanding of the big picture, and professional maturity.

Team Building Tip #6

Provide Significance - a basic human need is to feel significant. People must know that their work is appreciated and that their presence is valued. Everyone needs to know that their contribution matters.

You have the power, and the obligation as a leader, to ensure your employees feel that their individual efforts are meaningful. Take time to explain the importance of what your people do and how it fits in the greater scheme of the business. For example, if you’re talking to someone on an auto assembly line, that person doesn’t just tighten a bunch of screws, they person is an important part of a highly functioning that that produces 1,000 high quality automobiles every single day. Help your employees see the bigger picture of their contributions, which are very significant. 

As we conclude this list of team building best practices, remember that team building is nothing more and nothing less than taking the time to bring people together for a common purpose, and building quality connections among team members.

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