The importance of a strong team and how you can build one

A strong team is the foundation of every strong business, and it’s important to invest some time into building and supporting your workforce. After all, the stronger and more productive your team is, the more successful your startup will be.

According to Haiilo, companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. With that in mind, you should invest some time into building a positive work culture and train your team to work more effectively.

Not sure where to start? In this article, we walk you through everything you need to know to build a strong and effective team.

What characteristics make up a strong team?

Before we delve deeper into the dos and don’ts of stronger team building, we need to understand what attributes make up a strong team. 

Here are a few characteristics that come to mind:

  • Shared goals and vision
  • Diverse skill sets
  • Trustworthy and reliable workforce
  • Strong communication and cooperation 
  • Healthy conflict resolution 

What are the benefits of building a strong team? 

To give your startup the best chance of success, you’ll need to build and develop a strong team. Building an effective team will ensure that your business runs smoothly and effectively.

We found that one of the most important factors of a strong and successful team is an effective team leader. Every great team needs a strong leader to offer guidance on where the business is headed and advice in times of need.

The six Cs of effective team building

So what makes a great leader? There are certain characteristics you should have to build and nurture better and more effective teams. We’ve found that when it comes to the characteristics of a great leader, there are six main attributes to keep in mind. 

Coaching

A successful leader acts as a coach, helping their team grow personally and professionally. You should be prepared to offer guidance and constructive feedback, helping people understand how they can contribute to business growth and supporting them in those roles.

Character

As a leader, to earn your employees’ trust you need to be honest and transparent with them. By building on characteristics such as authenticity and integrity, you’ll develop a foundation of trust, encouraging collaboration and creating a positive work environment.

Communication

Communication is a key component of a successful leader. You must be able to clearly and effectively communicate your expectations and goals. A culture of open communication will ensure that you’re always on the same page and working towards common goals, and help you identify any deviations quickly so you can get back on track.

Commitment

As a leader, you’ll need to be committed to your team. You need to inspire team members by leading by example, showing a strong work ethic, dedication and willingness to go the extra mile. This will motivate and encourage your team to do the same and show a similar level of commitment to company goals and values.

Caring

Empathy, compassion and support are all attributes that create a safe and nurturing environment where your employees feel valued and motivated. By supporting your team, you’ll be able to build a culture of support and trust with your employees and thus build a healthier work-life balance.

Consistency

Consistency is a vital trait of an effective leader. By consistently demonstrating the values, principles, and expectations they set, leaders establish trust and reliability. Consistency in decision-making, actions and communication helps create stability and predictability within the team. This enables team members to feel secure, knowing that their leader is steadfast and reliable.

How can I build a strong workforce?

So you’ve found a group of talented people and hired them: now what? To build a strong and effective team, you’ll need to do a lot more than just hire the right people. For your team to be truly effective, you need to motivate your team and unite them by sharing the same vision. 

Easier said than done right? That’s why we’ve put together six key points, so you can build and maintain a strong team. 

1. Develop and set a plan 

You’ll need to determine the purpose of each team member, set them goals and guide them in the right direction to achieve these. Developing a clear set structure for your team will help them stay organised and on track.

2. Assemble a diverse team 

Your team will need to share the same goals and values as your startup to help them stay motivated and feel connected to their work. You’ll also need to make sure that your employees are working well together and forming good working relationships.

According to McKinsey, diverse teams are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. You should aim to build teams with complementary skills and abilities who can bring a diverse range of viewpoints and ideas to the table.

3. Determine and set goals

You’ll need to break down your company vision into smaller chunks with manageable goals and tasks. You should develop an outline for all the tasks that need to be achieved, set deadlines and divvy out responsibilities. 

4. Set expectations 

There’s nothing worse than being unsure of what’s expected of you. You should outline clear goals and expectations for your employees as well as establish clear standards from the get go. 

Some things to consider here:

  • Communication: will it be frequent, transparent, open and honest?
  • Contributions: are contributions encouraged, valued and recognised?
  • Conflict: how will conflict be handled? 
  • Feedback: will team feedback be respected?

5. Monitor, review and check-in

It’s important to set up regular catch ups and one-to-ones with your team members. This gives them a chance to give you feedback and discuss what’s working well and what they might need help with. This also gives you an opportunity to provide feedback for your employees and get up to speed on projects. 

Here are some good to ask questions if you’re not sure where to start:

  • How are we doing?
  • What have we achieved so far?
  • What have we learned?
  • What isn’t working so well?
  • How can we improve?

6. Celebrate and reward a job well done

The most important factor of any strong team is recognition. Recognition will ensure that your team feels appreciated and valued. This will help build employee morale and boost motivation.

Establish a healthy work environment by celebrating milestones. You will need to make sure that recognition is consistent and that it inspires and reinforces team members to continue their positive contribution to the team’s progress.

Common challenges and how to overcome them

It’s not all smooth sailing and there will be some challenges along the way. To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve made a list of challenges to help you recognise these early – and even avoid them all together. 

Poor communication

Poor communication is usually the root cause of project failure. Poor communication from managers affects morale and can lead to conflict and tension. 

Here are a few ways you can keep up to date with employees and projects and communicate more effectively:

  • Hold regular team meetings and discuss any of the latest developments, issues and progress
  • Catch up on email or send a quick message to resolve simple queries quickly
  • Go through action points post meeting and circulate these amongst colleagues

Lack of trust between team members

Trust is the foundation to success and a lack of trust will create a toxic work culture. Unfortunately, trust isn’t something that can be built overnight; you’ll need to nurture it over time.

 Here are a few ways you can build trust:

  • Set clear roles and expectations so everyone knows who is responsible for what and when 
  • Display a willingness to listen and encourage others to do the same
  • Promote regular communication and updates to keep everyone in the loop
  • As the leader, you’ll set the tone for how the team works, so avoid micromanagement

Poor work environment 

Work environment plays a massive role in productivity and team performance. You’ll need to ensure your team has all the right tools in order to be successful, get the job done and get it done well. As a leader, you’ll need to ensure that your employees have access to all the tools they need to work successfully. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Productivity tools that will keep your employees organised such as Notion
  • Proper technical equipment such as a computer, keyboard, mouse and a headset for calls
  • A space where employees can step away from their desk to relax on breaks and lunch 
  • Meeting rooms for taking calls or to use as a quieter spot to do focused tasks

Unproductive team meetings 

Unproductive team meetings are a common complaint from team members; staff can become frustrated when their time is diverted from getting on with important tasks. Regular team meetings are vital for project development and management, so here are a few tips to ensure your meetings are more effective:

  • Plan your meetings and provide an agenda of what you’ll cover in advance 
  • Practise efficient time management
  • Note down and summarise the main action points from the meeting and distribute these amongst your team 
  • Review your meetings regularly, to ensure your meetings are productive. Ask your employees if the meetings work well for them and what could be improved

If you’re looking to learn a little more about how to motivate your team, check out our article 11 tips to keep your startup employees motivated and prevent burnout.

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Author
Karina Kundzina
Karina is the Content and Marketing Assistant at Inkwell, the company behind The Pitch.

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