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6 Steps to Building A Strong Team Culture

Whether you are a start-up business, an international giant or assigning a new group of people to a key project, the secret of success lies in building a strong collaborative team.

Why? Because teams accomplish more together than they do individually. As well as bringing together a wide range of skills, talent and experience, frequent communication, friendly debate, differing perspectives and positive conflict all drive more effective problem solving & increased creativity; which reduces errors and improves performance.

In addition, high-performing teams often thrive under pressure, psychologically safe in the knowledge that they are well-supported by their colleagues who will help them resolve issues and mistakes.

But high-performing teams don't just pop into existence. Turning your employees from co-workers into a cohesive, collaborative and successful team requires careful cultivation and effective, inspiring modelling from leadership and management.

Here are my 6 steps to building a strong team culture:

1. Establish Expectations From Day 1

One of the biggest mistakes team leaders make is not establishing expectations from day dot. As I learned from teaching, it is much easier to relax tough expectations than it is to try and assert control further down the line. Think about the kind of team culture you are looking to establish - honesty, accountability, positive conflict resolution, commitment and psychological safety etc. - and communicate these from the very start.

2. Set A Regular Meeting Time

Agree a regular time to meet and communicate in advance what will be discussed or shared in the meeting. The opportunity to meet and talk helps build rapport between team members, discuss progress, problems and explore solutions. Make sure you find a time everyone can commit to and agree on certain roles in the meeting to ensure time is used wisely. No one likes attending meetings that overrun or lack focus.

3. Build Relationships

Create opportunities to build relationships and give your team the chance to get to know each other, and you, better. Planning events to bring the team together on a more personal level, increases your teams' sense of belonging by helping them learn more about one another's strengths, likes and interests. This increases trust and connection, building psychological safety and support.

4. Give Constructive Feedback

Create opportunities for you and the team to share mutually constructive feedback, highlighting successes and exploring what could be done to improve efficiency or performance. Make sure it is known that you welcome feedback and model receiving criticism with openness and curiosity, asking questions to gain clarity and exploring solutions together.

5. Practice Compassion, Kindness & Respect

As well as maintaining a level of optimism and hope, strong teams show compassion and practice kindness, building a strong foundation of respect, patience and honesty. People respond with kindness & understanding when others make a mistake and trust that their fellow team members will support them. They feel comfortable showing vulnerability and conversations are encouraging & supportive, helping to motivate while being respectful of different people's needs.

6. Communicate Frequently & Efficiently

Regular, effective communication can build strong, long-lasting relationships. How often have you sat and tried to guess what your colleagues or boss actually thinks about your work or performance? Mind-reading is a common negative thought trap and can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety & low mood. Instead of guessing what people are thinking, encourage your team to ask for and offer regular, honest communication, to build trust & security and avoid resentment & frustration.

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