How to Build Effective Teams? A Step-by-Step Guide for Leaders

How to Build Effective Teams? A Step-by-Step Guide for Leaders

Are you a leader who wants to know how to build effective teams? Great teams don’t just happen, they are actually built through sincere efforts and patience. Without teamwork, no business can succeed. So, building an effective team is crucial for a business leader. Here is a step-by-step guide for you to understand what exactly works in team building and what doesn’t. 

In this guide, you’ll find 15 steps for building effective teams. So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

How to Build Effective Teams? A Step-by-Step Guide for Leaders
1. Establish Great Leadership
2. Define Your Mission and Plan Ahead
3. Know the Attributes of an Effective Team
4. Understand the Team Development Stages
5. Choose the Team Members Carefully
6. Assign Roles and Responsibilities
7. Set SMART Goals
8. Develop Team Culture and Norms
9. Build Trust and Relationships with Your Teams
10. Manage Fear
11. Create Engagement to Build Trust and Relationships Within the Team
12. Get Feedback
13. Regular Performance Evaluations
14. Conduct Team Building Activities Frequently
15. Celebrate Achievements and Reward
Finally, How to Build Effective Teams Remotely?

How to Build Effective Teams? A Step-by-Step Guide for Leaders

#1. Establish Great Leadership

It all starts with you. Great teams must have great leaders! So, if you want to build an effective team, you should be a strong leader as well.

Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric explained leadership in his book “The Real Life MBA”. According to him, great leadership should be based on truth as well as trust.

And he’s right!

As a leader, you should understand what makes each worker tick. So, you need to be caring, flexible, and loyal to your subordinates. Always be true to them with your words as well as deeds. Also, make sure that you remove blockages from your team’s way to success. These blockages can be anything like bureaucracy, conflicts, or toxic people.

In addition to that, you should always reward your employees’ great performances with money, praise, and promotions. 

#2. Define Your Mission and Plan Ahead

Every company has a certain mission and vision. As a business leader or manager who wants to build an effective team, you should define what your company wants to achieve.

You need a strong team because you want to achieve something for your business, right?

So, have a clear understanding of what exactly you need from a team. Is that about increasing sales? Or do you want to launch a new product or service?

Now, set up a plan on how to reach these goals. For this, you can compare your company’s past performances with the present situation. This will help you identify the pitfalls and make necessary changes.

#3. Know the Attributes of an Effective Team

As a leader, it’s necessary for you to understand the main attributes of an effective team. So, let’s see the differences between an effective team and a poor team.

Poor Team Effective Team
  • Weak leadership
  • Strong leadership
  • Problem creators
  • Problem solvers
  • Strong resistance to change
  • Better response to change
  • Poor communication
  • Effective communication
  • Competitions and conflicts within the team
  • Cooperation and mutual respect
  • Scared to take any challenges
  • Ready to take any challenges
  • Fails to reach the goals
  • Always reaches the goals

An effective team is cooperative and goal-driven. Those teams are always willing to learn and ready to take new challenges. So, they can complete the projects on time, helping you achieve your company goals.  

#4. Understand the Team Development Stages

In 1977, Tuckman and Jensen suggested five stages through which a team must progress to become highly effective and successful. As a leader, you need to have a clear understanding of these stages in order to build effective teams.

Here are the 5 stages of team development:

  • Forming: In this stage, the team is just formed but its members have not yet developed the attributes of a team. So, they try to understand the attitudes, behaviors, and personality types of their teammates.
  • Storming: This is the stage in which conflicts arise. There could be misunderstandings and unwanted confrontations. Here team members try to negotiate in order to understand each other’s expectations.
  • Norming: In this stage, the team norms or basic rules are set. It can be rules regarding behavior and allocation of roles. Here the members develop trust and good relationships with others. Also, the team focuses on the goals to be accomplished and the results to be delivered.
  • Performing: This is the stage in which team members actually work together and complete the task. Here the overall goals are achieved through teamwork.
  • Adjourning: This is the final stage in which a team simply disbands as it has finished the job. This is kind of a farewell in which team members celebrate their achievements and success before dispersing.

#5. Choose the Team Members Carefully

You need great players to create a winning team. That’s why hiring the right ones is so crucial.

You might have a hiring checklist with many “must-have” traits. Right?

Sometimes, the candidate who performed like a pro during the interview fails when faced with actual work.

Why does it happen?

Mostly, it is your fault. You hired someone for X skill and what you actually need was Y. Or you overlooked one of his team-killing personality traits. Whatever it is, these hiring mistakes are common in most companies.

The best hiring checklists are the ones that are highly linked to your organization’s mission. They are also linked to the specific skills, behaviors, and personality traits, which you think will achieve that mission.

Of course, integrity and IQ are the things you should never miss. The next thing can be the popular elements of emotional intelligence. They are self-control, self-motivation, empathy, self-regulation, and social skills. Another thing you can consider is confidence, but not arrogance.

Again, hire carefully.

Okay, you hired the right workers. What’s next?

Once you have the right workers, it’s time to create the teams. When you create teams, go for a balanced team.

So, what is a balanced team?

A balanced team is a team with members of different abilities, backgrounds, and experiences. The best word that describes this is “diversity”.

It’s better to create a team with individuals who are diverse. The reason is diverse teams offer more creativity and multiple solutions to a problem.

#6. Assign Roles and Responsibilities

In this step, you need to assign roles and responsibilities to your employees. Before you assign roles, make sure that you completely understand their behaviors and personality types.

A good leader must know the strengths and weaknesses of his coworkers. Moreover, set ground rules for the overall well-being of your team members. Ground rules are basically the dos and don’ts you insist on your workers.

Typically, some employees might have extraordinary skills beyond their job description. So, you can take advantage of this by allocating appropriate tasks for them. For your employees, this would be a wonderful opportunity to use their additional skills.

#7. Set SMART Goals

Next, you should set SMART goals for your teams. SMART means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

  • Specific: A goal must be clear and specific. The Teams must know what exactly they need to do.
  • Measurable: Monitoring the processes toward achieving the goal is important.
  • Achievable: A goal should be achievable by your team of employees. It shouldn’t be something impossible to achieve.
  • Relevant: It should be relevant to your company’s goals and settings.
  • Timely: There should be a prescribed time limit. Deadlines should be realistic and shouldn’t be too tight or too extended. 

#8. Develop Team Culture and Norms

Developing a strong team culture is vital for the effective functioning of your teams. Literally, the team culture must align with your company culture.

A positive team culture enables coworkers to share a common vision. So, they can work together to achieve both their team goals as well as business goals.  

Team norms are the set of rules on how team members should interact with each other and how they accomplish the results. These norms help avoid office politics and create a sense of belongingness among coworkers.  It will also make employees treat each other with respect.

Make sure that these norms are flexible, and are not creating any blockages to your team’s path to success.

#9. Build Trust and Relationships with Your Teams

Researches show that employees enjoy working with a boss they can trust. Trust is the foundation for building good relationships. If your employees don’t trust you, how can they perform well in your company? For this reason, you must not neglect the importance of trust building.

There are some ways to build trust and consequently good relationships with your workers.

  • Firstly, make your employees feel that you’re a team player, not just a boss. Usually, open and transparent communication can help you achieve this.
  • Secondly, avoid micromanagement at any cost. The reason is micromanagement creates insecurity and a lack of freedom among employees. As a result, they become uncomfortable with their boss.
  • Lastly, show your employees how much you care about them and their efforts. So, make sure you appreciate them for their good efforts. Also, motivate them when they struggle.  

Remember, if your staff feel like you trust them, they will trust you too. Eventually, you will have good relationships with them.

#10. Manage Fear

Fear is one of the main reasons for underperformance. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of committing mistakes, etc. can affect your employees’ job performance. As a leader, you must consider this seriously. You should understand the reason for their fear and take appropriate measures to manage it.

Encourage your employees to take some risks, and try new things. Always inspire them to focus on the process rather than the results. This will likely boost their confidence. Gradually, they will work towards achieving your business goals.

#11. Create Engagement to Build Trust and Relationships Within the Team

A highly engaged workforce is more productive than a disengaged workforce. High engagement between colleagues is a sign of a winning team.

For this reason, you should encourage your employees to cooperate with their teammates. This will build trust, and subsequently good relationships between their colleagues. Moreover, this will give them the right mindset to focus on teamwork rather than individual gains.

There are various ways to create engagement in the workplace. Conducting several employee engagement activities would be a great idea!

#12. Get Feedback

Always be open to hearing feedback from your teams. Perhaps, an innovative idea from one of your employees can create miracles in your business.

Instead of imposing your plans, you can allow your teams to come up with their own plans. It can be about completing the tasks or even allocating the roles. Likewise, you can involve them in your decision-making process as well. Inviting your staff to contribute can create a feeling of fulfillment among them.

#13. Regular Performance Evaluations

Companies that have strong teams typically have various performance evaluation methods. For this reason, it’s crucial for you to review each employee’s performance on a regular basis. Monitoring their work and providing regular feedback can help the teams learn from their mistakes and get better every day.

This will contribute to overall team effectiveness and efficiency. Also, this will also help you know how far the goals are reached. Finally, you’ll realize what’s working for your teams and what’s not.

#14. Conduct Team Building Activities Frequently

Team building is an ongoing process. Building effective teams require effective team building activities. An ideal team building activity should be relevant to your business settings and should improve your team’s skills.

Apart from fun, team building exercises provide a great learning experience for your colleagues. So, your staff can become more adaptable and view things from different perspectives. This will reduce conflicts and increase collaboration in the workplace.

Additionally, employees will be able to communicate better, solve complex problems, make good decisions, and cooperate nicely with others.

Want Some Unique Team Building Activities?

If you want some unique team building activities for your employees, you can get my new e-book:

The Busy Leader’s Guide of Unique Team Building Activities: 30 Fully Customizable Exercises That You Can Conduct with Any Group of Employees, Anywhere

#15. Celebrate Achievements and Reward

Employees want to be recognized for their efforts. Always appreciate the efforts of your teams as well as individual performances by celebrating achievements and success. You can celebrate success in different ways like having lunch together, arranging a team outing, etc.  

Good performances deserve to be rewarded. So, don’t forget to reward your team when they achieved a milestone. Rewards can be anything like money, praise, or promotion. This will keep your teams motivated, so they will be keen to contribute more to your company.

Finally, How to Build Effective Teams Remotely?

If you’re trying to build an effective team remotely, the whole process discussed above still remains the same. The only difference is you need to interact with your team through chats, phone calls, or video conferences. For this reason, make sure that you and your team members have the necessary tools available. This can be an instant messenger, video conferencing software, etc.


Now that you know how to build effective teams for your business. Make sure that you follow each step carefully. Remember, building an effective team won’t happen overnight. Be patient and give yourself some time to see the results.

Like this guide on “How to Build Effective Teams?” Feel free to share your thoughts. 



Inline Feedbacks
View all comments