Great leaders are the linchpin that propels organizational success. As such, they must remain consistent and intentional in their efforts to build team effectiveness. Improving a team’s effectiveness is the key to efficiency, unlocking collaboration, fostering engagement, and driving overall productivity.

Yet, maximizing effectiveness isn’t easy; it demands committed, strategically-minded leaders with vision. This is especially true when demanding schedules and relentless deadlines create even greater challenges.

This article explores crucial, yet often overlooked, tips that can help you optimize your team’s performance and improve its effectiveness. Implementing these strategies will elevate your team to new pinnacles of success and propel it to greatness.

So, let’s dive in and uncover the essential tips in your quest to build team effectiveness.

Importance of Team Effectiveness

A highly effective team performs efficiently, fosters accountability, promotes engagement, and inspires others to break down barriers. Strong alignment, collaboration, and trust are characteristics of these teams. They overcome and capitalize on setbacks, maintain agility, and prioritize team success over individual recognition.

However, just because people are placed together doesn’t make them a team. That’s because members of ineffective teams have self-serving agendas and only look out for themselves.

To build team effectiveness, it’s essential to address the prevalent obstacles that impede growth. These obstacles frequently include a lack of trust among team members, siloed mentalities, vague roles and expectations, and an unhealthy team culture.

Understanding that effectiveness is far from automatic is a prerequisite for building high-performing teams.

Creating a Shared Vision

Creating a shared vision that aligns with the organization’s overall mission and core objectives is one of the first crucial steps to building team performance. A peer-reviewed research paper published in the Journal of Business, Economics, and Finance found, “A strong vision is a main predictor for organizational and team success.”

A shared vision clarifies where a team is headed and what they’re working to accomplish. Connecting this vision to each member’s contributions is an overlooked but crucial component of building team cohesiveness.

It is vital to involve team members throughout the process of creating a shared vision. Encourage open discussions and brainstorming sessions to collect feedback on what success means to them and their ideas. This fosters a strong sense of personal accountability and ensures that the team’s vision reflects its collective goals. This does not imply that every team member will agree or reach a consensus.

True buy-in and commitment are not synonymous with total agreement. It signifies that once a direction has been established, regardless of whether we agree, we will give our all to help realize that vision because we comprehend its underlying significance.

Prioritizing Team Above All Else

Effective and high-performing teams share a crucial characteristic: they always put the team’s interests first. When team members consistently prioritize the team’s success over their own, they are more likely to form a bond that is extremely difficult to break. The United States Army has done this successfully for more than 200 years. Section 1:14 of the Army’s Techniques Publication on Team Building states:

Team members develop accountability focused on the team rather than the individual. This means that team members feel mutually accountable to each other. The team accepts accountability for the results of the team’s actions. Team members begin to develop shared competence and shared confidence.

Prioritizing the team above all else necessitates communicating openly and transparently that individual success at the team’s expense will not be tolerated. A precedent regarding what is and is not essential must be established early on.

To maintain this level of focus on the team above all else, team members must be recognized when they do the right thing. Be vocal about highlighting positive examples and providing negative examples of what not to do. Set clear expectations for everyone and hold them accountable for their actions. Everyone benefits when the team wins; that must be a definitive truth everyone understands.

Setting Team Norms and Standards

Establishing clear norms and standards is critical for team effectiveness. The chances of success increase exponentially when team members clearly understand the team’s norms and expectations. Ambiguity in behavioral norms and overall expectations can lead to confusion, duplication of effort, and personal conflicts, all of which can derail the team.

Start by clearly articulating the team’s core objective of succeeding and winning. Is success not hitting the number or making the play but constantly bringing others down and degrading a teammate? Rather than simply emphasizing the importance of teamwork, ensure that each team member understands what it takes to be a good teammate.

It is imperative to review and update norms regularly, particularly during times of transition or when new team members join the team. This will aid in maintaining clarity and ensuring that everyone is focused on the team’s objectives.

Encouraging Deeper Connections

Being a more connected team is a prerequisite for constructing a highly effective team. Encourage team members to seek out deeper and more meaningful interactions. Foster an inclusive and secure environment by providing frequent opportunities for team members to be vulnerable.

The objective is not to coerce anyone into sharing, but the more consistent it is, the more team members reveal their true selves. I’ve witnessed hundreds of teams transform their performance by routinely engaging in team-building exercises that highlight vulnerability. To promote and encourage a deeper connection among team members, emphasize the importance of what is said within the group remaining within the group. Recognize that no one will use the information that others have shared against them.

By fostering deeper relationships, you can tap into your team’s collective intelligence and emotional capacity, improving collaboration and problem-solving abilities daily.

Effective Team Meetings and Decision-Making

To build team effectiveness, it’s imperative to run productive team meetings and implement processes for decision-making. Well-structured and engaged meetings allow team members to show up and contribute constructively. They provide a mechanism for sharing key insights, working together to deal with challenges, and driving alignment.

To make a team meeting more efficient, create a clear agenda and develop a structure that’s defined but not overly rigid. A recent New York Times article on effective meetings points to the importance of an agenda, saying, “An agenda provides a compass for the conversation, so the meeting can get back on track if the discussion wanders off course.” Without structure and an intended purpose, the meeting is far more likely to be counterproductive.

When improving decision-making, involving the appropriate team members is critical; it’s imperative that all relevant stakeholders are included. Encourage open discussions and consideration of opposing viewpoints. However, don’t let debate and indecision from others instill the false belief that a consensus must be reached.

It’s highly unlikely that consensus will ever be reached, but consensus is never the main goal. Having people challenge ideas and respectfully provide feedback is a hallmark of an effective team.


Staying committed on your journey to build team effectiveness is a strategic investment that pays off in increased efficiency, engagement, and overall team excellence. Anything worthwhile takes time, and building the most effective team is no exception.

Remember, bringing talented individuals together doesn’t automatically make them a team.