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20 Tips for Team Building: How to Build Successful Work Teams

Team Building at work

To help you create high-performing work teams, we gathered insights from founders, CEOs, and other business leaders. From hiring for culture fit rather than culture add to acknowledging team members' ideas, discover 20 invaluable tips shared by these professionals on how to build successful work teams.

  • Hire for Culture Add, Not Fit
  • Promote a Positive Work Culture
  • Foster Team Cohesion Virtually
  • Emphasize Value Alignment with Candidates
  • Prioritize Transparent Communication
  • Strengthen Trust with Bonding
  • Define Clear Team Goals
  • Capitalize on Team Strengths
  • Foster a Non-judgmental and Secure Space
  • Embrace Diverse Experience Levels
  • Upskill Employees for Success
  • Implement Skills Sharing and Planning
  • Grow a Respectful Environment
  • Adopt Facilitative Leadership
  • Cultivate a Healthy Work-Life Balance
  • Don’t Settle for Less Than the Perfect Fit
  • Avoid Running a Skeleton Crew
  • Create and Maintain Communication Pathways
  • Schedule 1:1 Conversations
  • Acknowledge Team Members' Ideas


Hire for Culture Add, Not Fit

Throughout the 2000s, there was this mantra in hiring of "culture fit." It wasn't until I joined the incredible team at LinkedIn that I realized how flawed this idea was.

When I was interviewing at LinkedIn, one of the interviewers asked me a question that caught me off guard. She asked, "What do you believe makes you a culture add here?" See, when you build teams that are a "culture fit," you get very one-dimensional thinking.

Hiring someone who is a "culture add" is about finding new perspectives, new backgrounds, and new ideas. When you hire for a "culture add," you make your teams stronger, not just bigger.

Bogdan Zlatkov, Lead Instructor for HR and Hiring, Growth Hack Your Career


Promote a Positive Work Culture

One way to create a successful work team is to ensure that when hiring and collaborating, you create and enforce a positive work culture. This not only makes for a more successful and engaged team but also allows you to have stronger and more meaningful relationships with your team members!

Diane Howard, Founder, Esthetic Finesse


Foster Team Cohesion Virtually

In a traditional office setting, casual interactions at the water cooler or coffee machine often lead to spontaneous ideas and stronger team bonds. However, in a remote setting, I tend to regularly create these “virtual water cooler” moments where colleagues can also talk about topics other than work.

This strategy, while not commonly discussed, can significantly enhance team cohesion and morale. It allows team members to connect on a personal level, fostering a sense of community and belonging. This is particularly important in a remote work environment where physical distance can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation.

Moreover, these casual interactions can also spark creativity and innovation. When team members feel comfortable with each other, they are more likely to share their ideas and perspectives, leading to more diverse and innovative solutions.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO,


Emphasize Value Alignment with Candidates

I strongly believe that hiring for value fit is crucial for building successful work teams. When individuals' values align with the organization's, it fosters a strong team culture. Shared values lead to better communication, collaboration, and understanding. 

It aligns everyone with organizational goals and enhances employee engagement. Value-aligned teams are more cohesive, motivated, and productive. In my experience, teams built with values in mind encounter very few conflicts and enjoy a positive work environment. In short, hiring for value fit ensures long-term team sustainability and contributes to overall team success.

Piotrek Sosnowski, Chief People and Culture Officer, Life And My Finances


Prioritize Transparent Communication

One invaluable tip for building successful work teams is to prioritize open and effective communication. Throughout my career, I have consistently witnessed the transformative power of transparent and proactive communication within teams. By encouraging team members to express their ideas, concerns, and feedback, we foster an environment that thrives on collaboration and trust.

To facilitate this, I establish regular team meetings where members share progress, challenges, and suggestions. Listen to their insights, valuing every voice. Promote open communication, creating a safe space for perspectives. Transparent communication builds trust, aligns towards goals, and leverages individual strengths. Effective communication strengthens relationships, resolves conflicts, and fosters camaraderie. 

Curran Van Waarde, Founder, CallScaler


Strengthen Trust with Bonding

Team trust is often improved through group outings that are both fun and aligned with the interests of individuals or small groups in the team. 

By organizing activities that resonate with their hobbies or passions, workmates can bond and connect on a personal level, fostering a sense of camaraderie and trust. These outings create an opportunity for everyone to engage in non-work-related conversations, build stronger relationships, and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for one another's unique personalities and strengths.

Trevor Ewen, COO, QBench


Define Clear Team Goals

Clearly defining team goals and objectives is crucial in building successful work teams. By providing a clear and concise vision of what the team aims to achieve, you create a foundation for shared understanding and alignment. When team members have a collective purpose, they can work together towards a common goal with clarity and focus. 

Clearly defined goals and objectives help guide decision-making, prioritize tasks, and ensure everyone works towards the same destination. This shared understanding fosters unity, collaboration, and a sense of purpose among team members. 

It also lets individuals see how their contributions fit the bigger picture, increasing their motivation and commitment. Setting clear team goals and objectives creates a roadmap for success and empowers your team to achieve outstanding results.

Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and Principal, Source Capital


Capitalize on Team Strengths

Building successful work teams requires harnessing the exceptional capabilities of your team members when assigning tasks. Maximizing their unique talents and proficiencies is key to optimizing team performance and achieving outstanding output. 

By fully embracing and exploiting the individual strengths of each team member, you can ensure that tasks are delegated to individuals who possess the requisite expertise and mastery in relevant domains. This calculated approach facilitates streamlined task execution, as team members are likelier to excel in assignments that align with their innate abilities. 

This strategy empowers and satisfies individuals as they are engaged in work that resonates with their natural inclinations, fueling a greater sense of fulfillment. Capitalizing on team strengths fosters collaboration and synergy, as members can support and learn from one another, forging an environment that is vibrant and exceptionally productive.

Saneem Ahearn, VP of Marketing, Colorescience


Foster a Non-judgmental and Secure Space

Building a successful work team is subjective. Many, I believe, would agree with me on that.

In my opinion, creating a successful work team comes to life only when they feel comfortable approaching me about their input without having any second thoughts.

As a team leader, it is my responsibility to establish a non-judgmental and secure space where people not only feel free to voice their opinions but consider them being validated well and thought through.

I try my level best to be respectful and open ear to their ideas, suggestions, and complaints. I assure them of my commitment to the very limit to address their concerns, foster a positive work culture and continuously improve to pave a path to success.

In return, I get tremendous results in terms of valuable feedback and a successful team working together for a common goal.

Vartika Kashyap, Chief Marketing Officer, ProofHub


Embrace Diverse Experience Levels

One thing we learned on our growth journey is that ideally, you want a mix of experience levels in an effective team. Having a team of juniors or a team of seniors can work fine, but it can be wasteful. What you really want is a few seniors in charge that can show the juniors best practices and help them develop faster and more effectively than they could if left to their own devices. 

To be clear, I don't mean a team of 20-somethings and one grizzled 40-year-old looking after them. I mean people on various rungs of the ladder that form a complete picture of the work stream, where everyone can learn from everyone else in the course of their work.

Onno Halsema, CEO, Contentoo


Upskill Employees for Success

By upskilling employees, you can boost your employees' motivation, creating a sense of belonging and a genuine desire for them to remain with your organization.

In a fast-growing environment, upskilling workers is crucial for companies to keep up with technological advancements and industry changes. It boosts employee confidence, flexibility, and productivity, leading to better business outcomes and competitive advantages. Upskilling also supports employee retention and career growth, which improves job satisfaction and loyalty.

Eran Mizrahi, CEO and Founder, Ingredient Brothers


Implement Skills Sharing and Planning

Building a team isn't easy, certainly, but the real trick comes in when you have to maintain that team, keep them working well, and try to minimize attrition. A successful work team, for me, means one that will stay the course and work well together long enough to mesh well and not be absolutely sunk by the first person leaving for a new opportunity. 

This means a certain degree of skills sharing and succession planning is an absolute necessity, to ensure teams stay flexible.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms


Grow a Respectful Environment

Fostering an environment where everyone feels respected is important for building successful work teams. 

When individuals feel respected, they are more likely to contribute their unique perspectives and talents, leading to enhanced collaboration and innovation. Valuing others' perspectives and upholding dignity cultivates a harmonious and inclusive work culture. It fosters transparent communication, encourages trust, and develops shared understanding amongst team members. 

Such an approach fuels elevated employee contentment, involvement, and team efficacy. By embracing respect as a core tenet within work teams, organizations can unlock the boundless potential of their diverse workforce and engender an environment that breeds accomplishment.

Hilary Kozak, VP of Marketing, LivSmooth


Adopt Facilitative Leadership

Building successful work teams in today's dynamic and complex environment requires a shift from traditional top-down leadership towards facilitative leadership. This approach, embodied by our philosophy, focuses on unlocking and unleashing the collective intelligence of the team, encouraging lateral thinking, and guiding toward consensus rather than dictating solutions.

Facilitative leadership involves creating conditions that empower each team member to contribute their ideas and expertise. It fosters an environment that encourages open communication, respects diverse perspectives, embraces failures as learning opportunities, and instills shared ownership and accountability.

To build successful work teams, focusing less on hierarchy and control and more on facilitation, empowerment, and collective wisdom is key. Facilitative leadership not only makes teams more resilient and adaptive, but it also cultivates a culture of continuous learning and growth, essential for long-term success.

Douglas Ferguson, President, Voltage Control


Cultivate a Healthy Work-Life Balance

To build successful work teams, prioritize a healthy work-life balance. Promote reasonable work hours and flexibility while supporting employee well-being. This approach fosters fulfillment and safeguards against burnout. 

Like a heartfelt letter, work-life balance cultivates happiness, satisfaction, and seamless integration between work and personal life. It establishes a resilient, productive team that thrives in both professional and private spheres, enhancing overall success. 

Recognize that work is just one aspect of individuals' lives, and valuing their well-rounded existence impacts performance. Encourage time for family, hobbies, and self-care to recharge and bring renewed energy to the workplace. By prioritizing work-life balance, you create an environment that attracts and retains top talent, improving team dynamics and long-term success.

Jeffrey Pitrak, Marketing/Account Manager, Transient Specialists


Don’t Settle for Less Than the Perfect Fit

When hiring, consider a potential candidate's technical skills, personality traits, work ethic, communication style, and ability to work collaboratively. Hiring the perfect fit for each role ensures that the team is composed of motivated, committed, and compatible individuals. 

This leads to a more productive and positive work environment where team members can work cohesively towards achieving common goals. The hiring process should also involve seeking diverse perspectives and backgrounds to encourage creativity and innovation within the team.

Karl Robinson, CEO, Logicata


Avoid Running a Skeleton Crew

Sure, it might save your budget to run a tight ship, but what it is really doing is hastening burnout. There is a difference between running a lean team and running a skeleton crew—being lean doesn't mean everyone has to pull in extra hours and work flat out every day to meet goals, it means a team that can function well in perpetuity without any additional bloat. 

The balance can be hard to find, but I guarantee you that if you have someone call in sick and it makes the lives of everyone else on the team hell until they come back, you are running too few employees.

Kate Kandefer, CEO, SEOwind


Create and Maintain Communication Pathways

Spend time creating effective, sustainable communication pathways. Even in the toughest times, if communication is open, non-judgmental, and filled with curiosity, teams tend to be open, honest, and willing to find better solutions. Cultures of secrecy promote fear. Cultures of chaos create attrition. Neither of the two last things mentioned are favorites of senior leaders.

Aleasa Word, CEO and Executive Coach, A. Word & Company


Schedule 1:1 Conversations

As sophisticated and fun team-building competitions and games can be, there are much more straightforward ways to solidify the feeling of a common goal among team members.

It's a pity managers often forget the power of simple 1:1 conversation. Group meetings are entertaining, but do they allow us to get to know each other?

Participating in individual meetings with each of my colleagues was incredibly helpful during my onboarding process. Even though unofficial, those chats were included in my onboarding schedule. But, despite being in some way imposed, they made me feel part of the team as no party or event organized later by the company.

The human-centered approach in companies should be based on compassion and empathy between co-workers. Dedicating some time to understand mutual motivations and values will raise the spirits and result in eagerness to collaborate and appreciate each other's efforts. If that occurs, sooner or later, success will come.

Martyna Szczesniak, Community Expert, MyPerfectResume


Acknowledge Team Members' Ideas

In my years of experience, I have found that one tip that consistently leads to success in my work teams is acknowledging each team member's ideas. This holds true in the context of the transcription industry, particularly in larger transcription projects. Team cooperation plays a significant role in ensuring the successful execution of such projects.

By acknowledging and valuing the ideas of team members, regardless of their positions within the team hierarchy, a sense of belonging and ownership is fostered. This creates an inclusive and collaborative environment where everyone feels heard and respected.

It is important to recognize that every team member brings unique strengths and capabilities to the table. By acknowledging their ideas, we tap into their full potential, enabling them to contribute their best work. This enhances individual performance, increases overall productivity, and leads to better outcomes for the entire team.

Beth Worthy, President, GMR Transcription Services, Inc.

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