Effective Team Building: 6 Most Important Pillars

Team building is the process of converting islands of individuals to a cohesive unit for achievement of common goals. Opportunities for fulfillment of individual expectations, respect for each other and an atmosphere of trust and support are preconditions for an effective team.  A true leader plays a vital role in team building. His role starts with defining the goals of the team and ends with fulfillment of the goal.


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•    Harmonizing influence of the leader brings out the best in the team
•    For an effective team, one plus one is four.


Let’s examine the 6 pillars of effective team building.

Define the Goal:  Pillar 1 of Team Building

Teams are formed to achieve certain goals. The goals can vary from a simple one like cleaning the premises to a complex one like sending a spacecraft to land in a comet.  Clearly defined goals provide an unambiguous vision to the members of the team.  When the goal is complex one, it should be split into separate small goals. The big team should also be split into different small teams, each with a team leader. There should a leader of leaders and the common group leader   shall ensure that individual teams are moving towards achievement of the final goal. 

•    The goals of the combined team and individual teams should be specific, measurable and, time bound.
•    Proper planning is the first step towards success.
•    Clearly spelt out goals make the task easy.

Select a Proper Team: Pillar 2 of Team Building

Selection of members of a team is the most crucial part in the formation of a team. The first step is identification of suitable team leader for individual teams.  The leader should be of sufficient experience, maturity and with good listening capability. The choice of a good leader boosts the confidence of the team members. Confident team members offer better solutions for the task in hand. 

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Selection of individual members shall take care of their ability to mingle with the team, expectations and career aspirations of individuals and future requirement of the company.  

•    Nothing succeeds like a united team
•    A united team can create miracles.  
•    A team should  have a character based on good values


Define Roles: Pillar 3 of Team Building

Once the members are selected, each member should be assigned with the specific task to be performed. Each person should be responsible for achievement of the assigned task. Responsibility and accountability should go hand in hand.

•    People enjoy responsibility. 
•    Delegate duties to make people responsible and not accountable. 
•    Encourage members to take calculated risks.


Maintenance of Two Way Communication Channel:  Pillar 4 of Team Building

Proper two way communication channels are must between

                         Individual team members and 
                         Individual team member and the leader. 

When the members discuss among themselves, it generates better team spirit. An atmosphere of co-operation and collaborative problem solving avoid majority of ego clashes.   It is repeatedly proven that organizations that communicate better, innovate better.  Good communication leads to better job satisfaction, work life balance and more loyalty to the institution. No need to mention that it leads to better productivity and innovation. 

•    Members of a team are individuals with feelings.
•    Avoid communication gaps. Unspoken feelings shout louder. 
•    Proper communication is a panacea for all ills of a team
•    Patient listening for a minute yields better result than shouting for an hour. 


Periodical Review and Corrective Measures: Pillar 5 of Team Building

The purpose of defining goals and milestones is to review whether the performance is in the expected lines. It is necessary to assess how far the team has progressed and where it lags, at a particular point of time. Periodical review should never be a one way affair. The assessed should be given ample opportunities to narrate the challenges being faced and his own solutions to overcome them. To fulfill the goals, it will be ideal to accept the solution offered by the assessed if found feasible. The experienced assessors should always guide them.  Periodical reviews should be used to capture the requirements for training, resources and guidance to keep the individual and team on track. If team or individual member is lagging, corrective measures shall also be taken. 

•    Periodical review is not a fault finding mechanism.
•    Each idea is valuable!!  Each feedback is valuable!!!  Dig for ideas and encourage feedbacks. 
•    Enforce values, good practices and ethics


Celebrate Milestone Achievements: Pillar 6 of Team Building

Credit worthy performance and achievements of individuals and teams should be identified and rewarded suitably. This will create an atmosphere of motivation, satisfaction and healthy competition. Members who come out with out of box ideas or solutions should be recognized then and there. Each Individual and team achievement should be an opportunity for celebration.  Celebration of achievement of final goal should be a memorable one and all should be party to the celebration. 

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•    Encourage individual achievements, but give top most priority for team achievements.
•    Celebrations prevent burn outs.
•    Suitable celebrations and recognitions lead to better results. 
•    Cost and time incurred for celebrations are the best investments for future.
•    Certain
failures must also be celebrated as they provide better insight and experiences.


Nothing is impossible for a cohesive team. Go ahead, form a good team, and achieve all the goals. 

SJ Chakanal

Have you read the following articles by  SJ Chakanal?

5 Pillars of Leadership Defined in “I” Terms

Achieving Goals: Five Steps To Be Remembered



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