In the movie Chak De India, Shah Rukh Khan’s character, Kabir Khar, wins the hearts of many. The story revolves around a former Indian cricket hockey player (Khan) who puts together a team of really diverse and difficult people. The women players don’t get along with each other; there is conflict and miscommunication.

Despite their differences, Khan manages to motivate them and lead them to success. His effective team-building strategies win the women’s hockey team their first World Cup. Building a team isn’t easy but the right strategies can help you navigate difficult situations and help your team cooperate and collaborate with each other.

How Do You Define An Effective Team?

Questions about effective teamwork have become a cliché in job interviews but they remain relevant nonetheless. Employers ask this question because they know that effective teamwork is the foundation of an organization’s success. Without teamwork, there isn’t any collaboration and motivation to work harder and achieve goals.

Building effective teams may seem like a simple and straightforward task but it can be tricky when put into practice. For example, you put together a team of your best-performing employees but you later find out that their working styles are different. They’ll fail to cooperate and are likely to fall behind on their projects. Sometimes, even the most mindful managers make the mistake of putting together a team that has no chemistry.

Therefore, you need to consider multiple factors before building a team. Individual efforts should reflect in group performance. There should be synergy and people should coordinate their efforts to meet common objectives. Higher the degree of interaction and interdependence, the higher the commitment to group goals.

What Are The Characteristics Of Effective Teams?

A crucial aspect of leadership is to build, manage and lead high-performing teams. Let’s look at the different characteristics of an effective team and understand how people can work closely and collaboratively.

  1. Clear Communication

Communication is essential for team-building; it promotes camaraderie among employees. It establishes trust and helps them be vulnerable and transparent with each other. Strong bonds lead to better collaboration. They will trust each other and motivate each other when the need arises.

  1. Proper Direction

One of the core functions of a leader is to guide teams and give them a direction. To achieve the end-goal or group objectives, there should be a clear purpose and direction. Measurable objectives and progress-tracking help in staying focused on targets. Often, employees don’t understand the purpose behind doing something. In addition to direction, personal goals should align with the overall objectives.

  1. Ground Rules

Team sizes can vary and you may have to deal with several people at the same time. Unless there are ground rules, the team is likely to be chaotic. Unnecessary conflicts may arise and it’ll affect people’s morale. A team should have a set of rules that provide clarity regarding operating procedures, actions and methods of interaction. When everybody agrees and plays by the same rules, the chances of eliminating ambiguity and keeping the team on track increase.

  1. Difference In Opinions

In the process of reaching common objectives, teams may subconsciously encourage echo chambers. People will be afraid to think out-of-the-box unless they feel that it’s a safe space to share, express and ideate. Diverse perspectives have the potential to enhance team performance. This kind of flexibility boosts confidence and strengthens interpersonal relationships. Teams that trust each other, grow together.

  1. Work And Play

All work and no play can lead to decreased productivity and burnout. While the primary purpose of teams is to achieve targets and meet deadlines, there should be room for relaxation and enjoyment. Interactions that happen more organically encourage better forms of collaboration. Positive relationships make way for a much more relaxed environment and minimize conflicts. It further helps the process of building a team much more enjoyable and less of a chore.

Healthy Habits For Building Effective Teams

The underlying features of effective teams tell us how to build a team in a constructive manner. But how do we put these techniques into practice? These healthy habits will teach you everything about highly effective teams so you can take the necessary measures.

  1. Powerful Reminders

You may think that once you’ve stated the mission, vision and goals, you have provided your team a north star to follow. But providing direction and guidance is a long process. You need to keep reminding everyone about the needs and expectations. The daily grind makes it difficult to consistently stay on track, which is why you should restate the team’s goals during monthly catch-up meetings and other relevant occasions.

  1. Collaboration Opportunities

Despite your efforts in building a team, some individuals may continue to work in silos. Not everyone is fine with stepping outside their comfort zone. Here is how you can encourage such individuals to cooperate and collaborate with others:

  • Encourage those who ask a lot of questions

  • Be patient while solving problems together

  • Acknowledge group efforts and provide constructive feedback

  1. Communication Strategy

A clear and well-planned communication strategy can help your team engage and cooperate with greater efficiency. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Celebrate wins from the previous week and reiterate the objectives of the upcoming week

  • Have bi-weekly team catch-ups and check-in on how everyone’s feeling

  • Create a feedback culture through monthly one-on-one meetings

  1. Delegation And Accountability

If you want your team to trust each other, then you need to take the initiative. Begin by trusting them with responsibilities. Delegation of authority not only creates accountability but also reduces workload significantly. Never micromanage your team, even when they make mistakes. Instead, provide feedback and guide them in the right direction. Trust them to get the job done and they will appreciate and learn from your positive attitude. Building a team takes time, so trust the process and the people.

  1. Result-Driven Approach

Unless you track progress and have results to support your progress, your teams will never understand how they have performed. In addition to setting goals, set milestones and check whether your team has achieved those targets. Measure performance against the results; it acts as a good motivator. If performance hasn’t been up to the mark, ask your team for inputs on how to improve.

How To Build An Effective Team

A competitive workplace should run on empathy, trust and communication and not fear. If you want to bring a behavioral change among employees, then you should be building a team that runs on motivation. Here is a list of effective team-building strategies:

  1. Be Self-Aware

Before you lead others, understand how you lead yourself. Being aware of your leadership style and individual strengths and weaknesses will help you judge situations better. Evaluate yourself and check for ways that can benefit the people you’re leading.

  1. Build Rapport

Teams in organizations come together for a purpose but it shouldn’t be limited only to driving business goals. Communicate with your team beyond project discussion; get to know them and show them that you’re approachable. It will also help you analyze how someone functions and what motivates them to perform better.

  1. Course-Correction

Flexibility is one of the greatest leadership qualities. Mistakes are inevitable and you need to make your peace with them. Becoming emotionally-charged isn’t a healthy way to deal with your team. Instead, find ways and help them improve. If they need additional guidance, provide opportunities for learning and development. Help them enhance their skill set for better performance.

  1. Gamify Work

You’ve probably seen video games, where players unlock new levels and win rewards at every stage. Make work more exciting and meaningful by motivating employees and rewarding them. Acknowledge the efforts of hardworking employees and make room for healthy competition. Use a team scoreboard and create individual targets for every team member.

  1. Improve Cooperation

The key to building effective teams is creating a culture of trust and reliability. Ice-breaker activities are helpful when you’re putting together a new team. Team-building exercises are a good way to increase team effectiveness and productivity. Encourage people to know each other and interact beyond office hours.


As we’ve already established, self-awareness is one of the fundamental principles essential for building effective teams. It will help you tap into your emotional intelligence and collaborate with people more effectively. Harappa Education has a course on team management called Managing Teamwork. Learn about the various stages of team formation and growth using the Bruce Tuckman Model. Additionally, the GRIN (Goals, Roles, Interdependence and Norms) Framework will help you identify the central characteristics of effective teams. Build a team that communicates, cooperates and collaborates successfully!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the COLLABORATE Habit such as the Importance of TeamworkOrganizational Behavior & Interpersonal Relationship to effectively collaborate with people.

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