What Makes a Good Team? (Qualities and Tips to Improve Teamwork)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 8 January 2023
Published 25 October 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Teamwork is integral to success in many industries. Strong team dynamics can lead to better work outcomes, higher productivity and greater customer satisfaction. Knowing what makes a good team can help you create a thriving team at the workplace. In this article, we look at what makes a successful team, list the benefits of good teamwork and show you tips to improve teamwork.
What makes a good team?
A thriving team shares many positive attributes, and you may wonder, 'What makes a good team?' Here are some characteristics that great teams may possess:
Mutual trust and openness
A team with positive group dynamics tends to have team members who trust each other. Trust is an essential component of a thriving team and usually takes time to build. Members know each other's strengths and limitations and are willing to help each other to succeed. Trust fosters a collaborative work environment where members trust each other to perform their tasks. They can work towards collective decisions and they are held accountable for outcomes. Members freely express ideas and feelings, both on work issues and on the group's operation, without becoming personal or offensive.
Similar work priorities
Part of what makes a good team is the ability to manage work and deadlines based on priorities. Members direct their efforts and spend time on what matters most. Because the team knows that tasks have varying importance, they focus on what has the highest priority or the greatest impact. This helps the team align with the organisation's goals.
Thriving teams share a sense of purpose. Members feel they are part of the team as they understand their goals. From time to time, the manager or leader evaluates the priorities and team goals to ensure they align with the company's overarching goal.
In a dynamic team, members may make decisions together. Teams may reach decisions through consensus, where everyone is in general agreement and backs the defcision going forward. Reaching an agreement may involve meetings, voting or open discussions.
Acceptance of constructive feedback
Constructive feedback can help individuals and teams grow and achieve better results. In a successful team, members are open to giving and receiving feedback. Such feedback aims to solve problems and accomplish an objective. An effective team might implement regular feedback, such as weekly reviews.
Focus on diversity
Successful teams tend to value diversity. Members recognise each person's strengths and work preferences, which boosts performance. Each member is valued for their unique skills or special talent. The diverse skills, experiences, ideation and problem-solving abilities help create a robust team that achieves more results.
Clarity within tasks and roles
Thriving teams may follow an action plan. Members may receive clear and specific assignments from their leader and everyone knows what is expected of them.
Strong active listening skills
An important part of what makes a good team is that members actively listen to each other when talking or having a discussion. Everyone's ideas are heard. Members appreciate and recognise each other's perspectives and feelings. Active listening fosters a culture of respect and helps members solve conflicts amicably.
Strong conflict management
In an effective team, when divisive issues arise, members try to resolve them quickly. When team members have different opinions, they are able to discuss them in a respectful and productive manner. Strong conflict management skills and processes can help teams achieve this.
Strong leadership skills
The best teams usually work under a strong leader, who provides constructive feedback and criticism and who communicates the team's vision and the company's mission. They may encourage collaboration and share leadership with other members. A strong leader earns trust and respect by inspiring team members and fostering engagement.
Good teams tend to hold lots of discussions in which every member is able to participate. Topics are always pertinent to the group's purpose. Every member gets a chance to share their ideas regularly.
Thriving teams often work or operate in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere that feels informal. In this working environment, everyone participates and has an active interest in the group. This can help increase happiness and create a positive workplace culture which is important when trying to foster the elements that make a good team.
What are the benefits of good team dynamics?
Improving team relationships has many benefits. Here is how you and your team members may benefit from a positive team dynamic:
Better results: A team operating successfully may deliver better results. Members can achieve more through collaboration and open communication.
Clearer vision: Team members often work toward the same goal or the company's vision, which is typically larger than an individual's contribution. This can lead to greater productivity and greater career satisfaction.
Greater collaboration: Higher levels of cooperation are possible when team members work in an informal and supportive environment.
Greater job satisfaction: When team members feel more valued, they may feel more satisfied with their careers. This can lead to increased happiness.
Faster decision-making: When team members are willing to listen to each other, they tend to make faster decisions.
Higher productivity: If the environment empowers members to challenge one another in a constructive and open manner, the positive work relationships among members are likely to make the team more creative and productive.
Tips for improving the dynamics that make a good team
Knowing what can help your team thrive is just as important as knowing what makes a good team. If you're in a management or team leader role, consider using these tips to create a better team:
Encourage open communication and discussions
Create an atmosphere where members actively listen to each other and value everyone's ideas. Welcome dissenting opinions or differences in perspectives during brainstorming sessions, even if the team adopts a different decision. Allowing team members to share different points of view encourages better decision-making.
Choose a strong leader
When a team has a strong leader, members can work together and realise their full potential. Strong leaders rally everyone to work, motivate the team and assign tasks according to members' abilities and interests. If your team allows members to select a leader, try to select one who you think has these traits.
Know your team
Conduct a team health check to find out what is going on with your team. Observe how individual members interact and work. You can conduct private interviews, where members can share information in a safe and confidential space. Talk to other key people like line managers and customers to learn more about your team's performance. By talking to team members and watching their interactions, you can discover what problems exist within your team.
Resolve problems quickly
Conflicts or misunderstandings can happen even in the strongest teams. If you notice a team member engaging in unhelpful actions or unacceptable behaviour, work to address it fast. Talk directly to the team member. Ask the person to reflect on their behaviour and say what they can do to rectify the issue to support your common goals. Encourage open and honest discussions whenever there are disagreements and guide the team to a resolution. Resolving issues quickly allows your team to return to a state of positive interaction.
Create a team charter
Teams and individual members usually need a strong focus to succeed. You may want to create a team charter that defines what the team hopes to accomplish, why it matters and how members will work together. Creating a team charter with properly defined roles, rules of engagement and clear goals could motivate members to take their responsibilities seriously and collaborate more.
Clear and streamlined communication is vital to creating a focused, thriving team. Keep team members on the same page by establishing clear expectations and guidelines for communication. For example, the team may use instant messaging software for group chats and team updates. They may rely on project management tools to define tasks and track assignments and project progress. Having a clear communication process helps prevent conflict and ensures key people get clear information about assignments or responsibilities.
Invest in development
If you want your team to deliver outstanding results, create a culture of continuous learning and development. Thriving teams are usually curious. They explore possibilities, ask questions and adapt whatever they learn to real-life situations. When team members continually build on their knowledge and learn from previous mistakes, they become innovative and efficient.
As the manager, learn to recognise and reward members for good teamwork. Let members know you appreciate the good work they are doing. You can send a congratulatory email, buy your team members breakfast or arrange a happy hour together.
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