Creating A Strong Team Culture by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

“A team is not a group of people who work together but a team is a group of people who trust each other.”

~Simon Sinek

A common leadership mistake is assuming that a group of professionals can come together and create an effective team. In reality, creating a team requires clear leadership and a thoughtful, planned, and organized approach that allows each individual to feel valued, supported, and trusted in his or her role within the team.

Team culture is the same as workplace culture, but it is often more individualized to a specific group of people. Developing a strong team culture is an important factor in retaining top team members, increasing productivity, and encouraging the team to develop new ideas and innovative solutions that can revolutionize how the team, department, or company does business.

When there is a robust and positive team culture, the team members work in a synergistic way to accomplish more than they could possibly do on their own. There is a sense of trust in the other team members that encourages sharing ideas and assistance without the fear of not being recognized for their contributions. It is also the best way to allow each person to work to their strengths and talents while trusting and relying on their team members to contribute, work to deadlines, and have a vested interest in the project’s success.

Create a Team Mission and Values Statement

Making the first task in building a team culture development of a team mission and values statement is always a great opportunity. This is a positive statement that highlights the values, qualities, and behaviors that your team expects.

It also includes the purpose of the team. When the team agrees to and is clear on the mission and the values, there is s shared sense of the common good and responsibility of the team and each individual member.

Focus on Continuous Development

Team culture needs to continue to evolve and reflect changes in the business, the members, and the technologies used by the team. Providing continuous learning and development opportunities demonstrates the way each member of the team is valued.

This does not mean every team member goes through the same training or program. It does mean that the team prioritizes each member to develop a personalized approach to continuous learning and development and supports and celebrates this focus.

Acknowledge Team Success

It can be easy for a team leader or project manager to take credit for the achievements of the team. Creating a philosophy and practice of celebrating team success is critical for those in leadership roles if they want to build and maintain a strong team culture.

This is not to say that specific team members may be recognized individually for their contributions to the success. This should be done in a transparent and consistent way to allow all team members to have their efforts acknowledged throughout the project.