How To Build A Great Team

Our society often promotes the idea of The Lone Ranger as the ideal.

Being self-sufficient is key, we hear. But it’s a lie.

Boat Rope

Image by Moyan Brenn

The ideal should be to work in a great team. And that requires teamwork.

What Is Teamwork?

Teamwork is the combined effort of a group of people working together towards a common goal.

When we begin to combine our efforts and work with others, our output is multiplied. Creative ideas that were blocked by a lack of vision are released when shared with others.

Before you know it the team is knocking out new ideas and increasing productivity.

“Great teams never depend on individual creativity and thinking.”
— Andy Stanley

How To Build A Great Team

To build a great team, you’ve got to find people who are willing to work together. Those that know that a great team requires more than just an individual.

The team requires, and demands, unselfishness. It requires people who aren’t in it for themselves but in it for the larger goal of the organization.

A great team requires at least four things:

  • Trust: It’s hard to work together if there’s a lack of trust. When you’re putting together a team, recruit members who are honest and hard-working.
  • Creativity: The team is together for a reason, most likely to solve some sort of problem. Bring in creative people who are able to shine new light on the issue. You’ll gain insight into the issue that has been passed over before.
  • Communication: Your team must be willing to communicate with each other. Each member needs to keep the team informed of the progress and direction of the project. Without key information, other members of the team can begin to feel left out and unimportant.
  • Unselfishness: Look for people who are willing to give up their wants for the greater good. They’ll be willing to compromise when needed. They’re also more likely to be able to see the reason they can’t always have their way.

It is amazing how much people get done if they do not worry about who gets the credit.
— Swahili proverb

One Last Ingredient

There’s one last ingredient to a great team. And that’s a great leader.

Teams need to have a centralized figure they can look to for answers and directions. That’s where you come in.

You’ll be the one leading your team onto victory.

Prepare yourself to step into this role.

Give them the leadership and guidance they need. Lead the way.

Question: What do you think is the key to building a great team? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • The Lone Ranger was not really alone.  He and Tonto made a great team.  I’m not really sure, though, what I think about Johnny Depp being Tonto though.  Seriously, I think the Lone Ranger and Tonto exhibited these traits.

    • Good point Larry. The Lone Ranger of TV, and soon to be movie, fame actually had a partner in Tonto. I wasn’t even thinking of the Lone Ranger from TV when I wrote this but of those that try to do everything on their own.

  • DS

    I think another key is embracing and recognizing the unique talents/experiences each member brings to the team is helpful.  

    Also, a healthy reflection on the fact that you can’t do everything on your own.  You may be able to complete a task by yourself, but at what cost?

    Lastly, I think its imperative to celebrate success together as a team.

    • I like that DS. When you’re valuing each unique talent and/or experience, you’re able to increase the benefit each brings to the team. 

    •  Great point, finding each person talents and placing them in the right place on the team is essential.

  • I’m learning about using selflessness.  When we allow people who work with us on various projects a chance to shine, earn credit, use their own skills, etc. and share the glory, we are becoming a better team leader.

  • You hit on this point about communication, it’s essential!!! I think it’s a key factor for vision and the goals to be accomplished.  It drives the team toward a better future because everyone know and understand what needs to be done to create the desired results. Great post Joe!

    • Thanks Dan. I’m a big proponent of communication. There’s been too many organizations that have been destroyed due to a lack of it.

      •  I’m with you Joe.

        • DS

          The other side about communication is that if you give people a clear and consistent message, it allows them to carry a message forward as well.  It allows them to help get others on board.

  • When I’ve had a team in the past one area I struggled with is communication, it’s so important! I would add to always be real and honest with your team.

    • It’s great that you’re recognizing communication hasn’t always been a strong point for you. What are you doing to improve it?

      Being honest and real is a great addition. You can’t keep things hidden and expect things to be kosher. Things will be found out eventually.

  • I’d add supporting one another – especially when something goes wrong.  It shouldn’t be finger pointing, it should be how can WE fix this and move forward as a TEAM.

    • I love that addition Tom. “Failures” and mistakes shouldn’t be the destruction of your team. It should bring them together to solve the problem. How do you do this in your organization?

      • It’s a long haul, and we aren’t there yet.  What I can do is set that example with my team, which is what I try to do.  A lot of it is language, especially between functional groups…  it is WE and not YOU.

  • Ditto on trust, which leads to giving autonomy, and productivity. All great elements of a great team, Joseph. 

  • It’s important to find the right people and to get them on the right seats in the bus.  It’s also important that the leader model desired behaviors.  A team can be a powerful thing when everyone is doing their part.

    • So true Jon. A leader can sabotage the whole team by failing to model the behaviors he desires.

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  • Unselfishness is key. The leader must model it and live it first. Then team members will be unselfish in their actions as well. I would also say the leaders family must also be unselfish. I have missed many a dinner and had to leave in the middle of a movie because the team needed me.

    • Your addition of the family being unselfish is a great point. They have to be willing to let you go and help the team when need be. But we also have to be careful not to let the team come before our family more often than not.

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