How to Build a Great Team: 27 Amazing Tips

The most successful leaders in history became that way not because they were the “lone rangers.”

No, great leaders became successful because they had a great team.

Their great team may have been made up of many average people, but when they came together, they formed the nucleus of a superstar.

Isn’t that what every leader wants?

To have the greatest team ever.

When we look back upon championship sports teams, normally they did not have one “superstar” who took their team all the way.

Even if you were to ask the great Michael Jordan about his years with the Champion Chicago Bulls NBA team, he would not take all the credit; he would tell you it was the team.

So, it is about building an extraordinary team and in today’s post, I am going to give you 27 amazing tips on how to build a great team.

No matter if you lead 2 people or 1,000 people, you want them to be a strong team.

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This post can be helpful for Army leaders of all levels, but can also help business leaders in the civilian world; so please share this post with all.

These tips are in no certain order; so scroll down, read and learn.

1: Set Ground Rules

As a new leader building a team, you need to set ground rules for your team.

Yes, your organization has its rules but as the leader, you need to be clear about what you expect, and what is out-of-bounds.

2: Keep It As Normal As Possible

Even though you are building a new team, you do not have to reinvent the wheel.

If you try building a team using methods that are invasive or awkward, you will lose team members quickly.

Try to keep the process as normal as possible.

3: Instill Clear Communication Channels

The team needs to have a set communication policy.

Team members need to be able to talk and listen with other team members and leaders on a regular basis.

4: Team Volunteer Activities

One of the best ways to really bring a team into close workmanship together is to commit the team to a volunteer task.

It could be cleaning a heavily polluted area or helping some elderly people go shopping.

Volunteering can bring out the best of a team.

5: There Are No Stupid Ideas

Throughout history, there have been ideas that some people thought were stupid.

Years later the realization that the idea was genius became evident.

No matter what a team member’s idea is, it is not stupid.

6: Team Field Trips

Another great way to really get team members into sync with each other is to have a team field trip.

I know Chuck has mentioned before how he has taken his team to battle sites.

Find a location where your team can have fun and get educated.

7: Generate A No Asshole Policy

Please excuse my vulgar wording, but I needed to be as “blunt” as possible with this tip.

This somewhat goes with the no stupid ideas tip, because it will be “the asshole” who has the gall to call an idea stupid.

By instilling a no asshole policy at the beginning, you will create an understanding of what you expect.

8: Team Meal

A great way to have a close relationship with your team and between members is to have an occasional team meal.

It could be a potluck or a get together at a restaurant.

Try it, it works.

9: Fill Your Team With People More Talented Than You

Many leaders just go after people for their team with less talent than they have.

It only makes good sense to go after team members that have more talent than the leader.

A good example may be a championship football team.

While the quarterback is the leader per say, there may be a wide receiver, running back or even linemen with more talent than the quarterback.

Putting them all together, they bring the trophy home.

10: Have Non-Work Communication

A little talk about what movie a team member watched, or their favorite sport team can “lighten up” the whole work process.

11: Encourage Debate

Having conflicting points of view can help the whole team look at the “big picture.”

I say to encourage debate, but not arguing.

12: Let Team Members Know They Are Valued

This is an area where many leaders slip up.

It is important that we tell team members occasionally just how valued they are.

A little “pat on the back” can go a long way.

13: Utilize Unique Talents

When you see some unique talents that your team members have, utilize those talents.

Maybe you have a Corporal who is great in photography.

I am sure you can find a way to use that within your team.

Or maybe there is a Private who sidelights as a comedian.

We all need a laugh from time to time.

14: Brainstorming

Brainstorming has always been a great way to get a mixture of ideas from a team.

But, it has been proven that actual brainstorming groups do not work as well as they are meant to.

This is because some people relax and do not put there heart into the session.

The new concept that seems to be taking off is electronic brainwriting.

This is using a chat room to brainstorm in which the members are not seeing each other and are more apt to share without the possible “odd looks.”

15: Build A Team Foundation

This tip goes right along with many of the other tips.

If you set the right foundation, the team will stand strong even through adverse conditions.

Remember, a structure is only as good as the foundation it sits on.

16: Make The Team Aware Of The 4 Stages

A solid team is built using 4 stages.

They are:

  1. Forming

  2. Storming

  3. Norming

  4. Performing

The team should always be aware of the stage they are in. And the progression.

17: Eliminate Micro-Cultures

One of the biggest team “killers” is micro-cultures.

If team members are separating into smaller culture mixes (women, privates, ncos, etc…), this can cause a huge controversy.

Try to keep this from happening.

18: Lead By Example

It has been said time and time again, lead by example and not just words.

Your team members are watching you.

If you are willing, they will be willing too.

19: Instill Social Sensitivity

This is when we need to leave our egos in the closet.

We all need to be aware of our words and actions, and how other team members may understand them.

I am not saying we need to be all “touchy-feely,” but we do need to understand that other people have feelings.

Teach your team members about empathy and how to put theirselves in another’s shoes.

20: Have Fun

With a mixture of fun in any team, it will run much better.

Just have a fun atmosphere and watch everyone work great together.

21: Try To Have A Mixture Of Introverts And Extroverts

By having a team made up of both introverts and extroverts, you will have a solid mix of ideas and they can teach each other.

22: Know What Your Team Members Need

Just ask what your team members need and they will tell you.

When you go to all extents to supply their needs, they will know you care and are working for the best for the team.

23: Create A Common Vision

All that needs to happen here is for you to take your team and develop a common vision.

Write it down and give a copy to all your team members.

24: Have Common Goals

Just as the team vision, you should also develop a complete list of goals and the objectives to reach those goals.

This is another thing the whole team should develop together.

25: Have A Plan Of Action

This also falls right in with the vision and goals.

You need a plan of action.

As you move forward, that plan could have changes.

Write it down and make changes as needed.

26: Clarify Team Member’s Roles And Responsibilities

It needs to be clear from the beginning what each team member’s role and responsibilities are.

Make sure this is defined, and I suggest putting it in writing so there is no confusion.

27: Ensure The Support Of Leaders

Team members need to always know that the leader’s “have their backs.”

If the leader’s superiors have an issue with a team member, the leader needs to support that team member, unless the member did something outside the original ground rules.

And, even then the leader should support and back the member and clear it up with them on a closed door basis.

Final Thoughts

By using these tips, you can build a championship team.

Let’s hear your thoughts.

Do you have any added tips for building a great team?

Just put your comments, questions and thoughts below.

Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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