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What is it that sets excellent teams apart from others in their organizations? I’m confident this question has been on the minds of many Human Resources leaders, Organizational Development professionals, managers and executives, who are striving to maximize productivity and goal achievement.

In positive news, high-performing groups are not mystical beings that mere mortals can never hope to understand. They have been studied by numerous institutions and companies. To develop effective cohorts, it’s important to examine common underlying elements that fuel success and recognize the valuable role that team building plays in attaining these points of differentiation.

#1 – They Trust Each Other

A central element of effectiveness lies in having confidence in one’s colleagues. From studies like Google’s Project Aristotle to reports from Quantum Workplace, it’s clear that coworkers must be able to depend on one another as well as have faith that their coworkers have the capacity and willingness to do their jobs.

How Can Team Building Help?

Trust will be amplified when people participate in experiences that allow them to learn about their colleagues, understand how others prefer to approach responsibilities and recognize the strengths of each member.

#2 – They Are More Authentic With One Another

According to research reported in the Harvard Business Report, high-achieving cohorts are more willing to openly express themselves including positive inputs, negative thoughts and disagreements. Great Places to Work also notes that respecting different perspectives, expertise and opinions is foundational for success.

How Can Team Building Help?

Employees need to believe that their viewpoints will be validated and heard to be authentic. Bonding allows staff to get to know one another, appreciate the importance of diverse experiences and see each other as whole people.

#3 – They Exhibit Psychological Safety

Google’s Project Aristotle and the Harvard Business Review have shown that high-functioning departments share the belief that it’s okay to take risks, express ideas and concerns as well as speak up without fear of being punished or embarrassed. Having psychological safety boosts productivity because it makes room for innovation and learning.

How Can Team Building Help?

Providing structured opportunities where employees can take safe risks and learn about how they approach situations differently will enable them to feel more psychologically safe when they return to day-to-day work activities.

#4 – They Know They Belong

Belonging has been shown to increase job performance as well as the effort that individuals put into their tasks. It also creates a cohesive sense of community that inspires staff members to feel engaged and connected. When everyone recognizes that they are a valued part of a team, it will generate results.

How Can Team Building Help?

Before a person can feel that they belong to a group, they need to know that they are seen. Investing time to help staff get to know one another as people and professionals will produce meaningful interpersonal relationships.

#5 – They Bond Over Non-Work Topics

Ignite80 found that high-performing cohorts specifically speak about topics that are unrelated to their jobs. Finding out about each person’s interests and life outside of the office encourages employees to be more authentic and empathetic, which spurs productivity.

How Can Team Building Help?

Having conversations about topics outside of the business world is an important element of collective success. Creating space for staff to interact informally will help to improve outcomes.

#6 – They Are Aligned

Effective departments are connected to a common purpose. They have clarity in their goals and roles and commit to making a collective impact. Staying aligned in their objectives and functions allows them to effectually meet their targets.

How Can Team Building Help?

Group development activities can be used to increase alignment to a shared vision or objective as well as behaviors or norms. These experiences may also reveal how individuals can better cooperate to achieve shared success.

#7 – They Are Constantly Learning

High-performing teams recognize that they can continuously improve themselves as individuals and as a group. A growth mindset is what empowers productive employees to be even better by learning from mistakes and expanding their horizons.

How Can Team Building Help?

Learning and development programs are great bonding opportunities. Gaining new knowledge together empowers colleagues to increase cohesion while gaining valuable skills that they can work on as individuals or as a collective.

#8 – They Collaborate Proactively

Successful cohorts act like teams in that they seek out one another’s opinions to improve upon their work product. They recognize that great things happen when people put their heads together and make an effort to hear their colleagues’ perspectives. When employees operate with cognitive diversity in mind, they amplify results.

How Can Team Building Help?

Collaborating in low-stakes situations enables staff to better cooperate during periods of high stress, which is an optimal time to embrace and lean into a multitude of viewpoints.

#9 – They Celebrate Successes

Effective groups recognize one another and make time to acknowledge accomplishments and milestones. In doing so, they raise morale and inspire each person to feel valued for their contributions, which further stimulates performance.

How Can Team Building Help?

Whether it’s a formal outing or a shared celebration in a meeting, recognition can be wrapped into bonding to recognize the impact personnel are having and promote motivation.

#10 – They Are Amenable to One Another’s Needs

Finally, highly proficient departments are more likely to be adaptable. They are capable of adjusting priorities based on situational factors as well as more willing to support their colleagues when they need assistance.

How Can Team Building Help?

Strengthening interpersonal relationships increases the likelihood that employees will have empathy and compassion for one another. By creating opportunities for staff to connect, they will be more willing to help each other out so that the whole department can accomplish their objectives.

Cultivating a culture of excellence is nearly impossible to do without investing in team building. Ensuring that employees have time and space to learn about and with each other will enable them to collaborate effectively. And, the leaders who make this sound investment in their teams will put their staff on the path to collective success.

Learn more about how you can maximize performance in your organization. Download Build Exceptional Teams: An Emergenetics eBook for helpful tips to get started today.

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