What makes a successful team? Behind any growing business lies an equally brilliant team. It does not matter the size of your business, this formula applies to both the smallest of start-up companies to the largest international organisations. 

Employees are essential in allowing your company to scale up and thrive in a way that wouldn’t be possible for a single person. In order to create a valuable cohort, you need the right members. Successful group members will value working towards a common goal and apply a similar ethos throughout their work. 

They respect a certain level of hierarchical structure that most businesses require. However, having the right people in place is only half the battle. You will also need to bring these individuals together into a cohesive unit! 

What are Successful Teams so Important? 

Every year, countless new businesses are launched across the country and unfortunately not all of these succeed. Many might ponder exactly why it is that some businesses thrive and grow whilst others close up within a few years of launch. 

Truthfully, there are many factors that contribute to this including capital and one’s own understanding of their position in the marketplace. Success also requires the ability to innovate and not be underestimated – and a little bit of luck as well. 

However, one factor that all businesses can control that can directly determine long term success is hiring the right people and facilitating them into a successful and powerful team. 

Tips for Building a Strong Team

High-performing teams don’t grow on trees. They require careful cultivation from a leader with a strong sense of team values, goals, and code of ethics. An absence of strong leadership from the top will minimise your chance at collaboration and developing true talent. Here are some things to remember to help build a strong and highly successful team. 

Manage your Expectations 

Ensure that you establish expectations from day one. Often new employees and team members arrive as blank slates, open to a range of company cultures. They will quickly begin to seek cues for how to operate as a member of your company. 

You should take advantage of this opportunity. Begin by setting ground rules and making your expectations known. Your expectations should not just be detailed in terms of sales goals or 5-year plans but also in terms of the environment you aim to establish. 

Should you wish to establish a culture of shared responsibility, shared problem-solving and shared decision making, you need to make these intentions clear. An effective leader will make sure to communicate such values from the start. This lets team members understand what it is they are signing up for. 

Understand and Respect Your Team Members as Individuals

It is always important to ensure employees feel part of the team but you must always maintain perspective. Your team is made up of individuals with stories of their own. They have rich and varied backgrounds and lives when they leave work. 

They are more than mere cogs in a machine and you shouldn’t regard your team as bodies that perform tasks. A robust team environment blossoms when individuals are honoured and respected for their unique gifts and contribution towards a common goal. 

Build Connections Within Your Team 

Although it is critically important that you value and honour each member of your team, it is also essential that employees also show care and respect toward one another. Encourage individuals to regard each other as more than just bodies on desks, but rather as partners who will work toward a shared goal in business development as well as individual success and achieving team goals. 

What Makes A Successful Team (2)

Emotional Intelligence

A great leader will value the importance of emotional intelligence. In short, this means that their leadership style includes treating individuals as human beings. Not everyone can be motivated by the same things and in the same way. 

Some people are goal-oriented and are motivated by seeing their continuous progression towards a dream. Some seek healthy competition against, for example, other sales teams or another team within the office. Leaders should embrace the varying work styles of their team as well as their different forms of motivation. The key is to treat people’s individual differences as assets rather than obstacles. 

Use Positivity to Motivate Your Team 

Positivity is a fantastic motivator. More often than not it is more important to shape behaviour with positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement. Where possible, you should resist the urge to criticise team members’ mistakes. 

Instead, create a positive team environment by recognising and praising behaviours that you liked and making time for intelligent feedback contributions. Positive reinforcement is far more effective in motivating team behaviour in comparison to shaming people’s mistakes. 

Communication is Key 

As individuals within a group, we all like to know where we stand. People will want to know if their peers are happy with the work they produce. They may also wish to know if they need to improve.  

If a member of a team notices that you are unhappy but do not say anything, this can lead to built-up stress and resentment which may also result in poor performance. Alternatively, they may think they are doing a great job but are not being recognised for it. 

This can cause issues especially when they receive an unwelcome shock in hearing that they have been underperforming. Communication is key. Effective communication can help maintain working relationships for decades, whilst silence can break relationships very quickly. 

Give Rewards for Good Work 

As a leader, you should look for ways to reward strong performances. People will always appreciate these gestures as they will reflect that their hard work and prove their effort is being noticed. If you are in a fortunate enough position where you are able to give financial bonuses, this can be a great way to show appreciation for your staff. 

If you are a start-up with little cash in hand, you should consider other ways to show appreciation and trust. One way to do so is to practise the art of delegating. When team members show great judgement, give them the opportunity to make decisions that are usually yours to make.. 

These small gestures will go a long way in showing employees that you have paid attention to their efforts and that they are appreciated. This will reflect well on you as a leader and remind staff that they are valued members of the team 

Diversify Your Team 

You should make sure that your team is as diverse as possible when it comes to building your business. Doing so will help cover your blind spots as different backgrounds, experiences and ages will be able to inform the judgement call you make and the content you put out. 


Find a dedicated leader who can make decisions on your behalf. These people will need to be good ambassadors of the company. Facilitate them to be collaborators by trusting in them to make decisions on their own. You will be investing both time and resources into this person so consider their longevity within your company and industry. 


No team is the same. They depend on the individual personalities of the members and the leadership style of managers. That being said there are some key ingredients to making a success out of any team. Teams should have mutual respect for one another and work towards common and aligned goals.

Clear communication is essential in order to ensure team success. Without it, messages can easily be misinterpreted or lost in translation which can lead to inefficiencies and arguments. Additionally, by having a diverse team from all different backgrounds, ages and experiences, you are able to gain unique perspectives and can help cover blind spots. 

Team leaders should practice emotional intelligence. Team members need to be regarded as valued members and first and foremost as human beings and individuals. Doing so can have practical implications too as you will be able to spot each member’s unique strengths. Also, a hard-working and successful team deserves to be rewarded. Remember that gifts don’t need to be expensive as often it is the thought and show of appreciation that will often be most important to team members. 

Lastly, remember to trust and have faith in your team. Try to resist micromanaging them and leaving them to make decisions for themselves. A good team member will embrace taking on this responsibility as an opportunity to show off what they can do. 

More About Azimuth

We help individuals develop their knowledge, skills and mindset through business management courses and our expertly developed business consulting services. 

We help organisations design and deliver world-class learning. We consult on insightful business strategy, deliver outsourced learning management and help training managers identify high-risk events and use training to mitigate against them. We run the world’s most comprehensive management system, built specifically for high-risk environments. 

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