Understanding What Makes a Good Team (12 Key Qualities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 5, 2022

Published May 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Teamwork can be a critical component to the success of an organization. Working effectively as a team takes patience, understanding, acceptance and empathy. Learning what makes a good team can help you become a better leader and create a productive group. In this article, we discuss the qualities that make a good team and share several tips for team development.

What makes a good team?

If you work in an environment with other people all focused on a common goal, you may be wondering what makes a good team. Creating a solid team requires awareness of various elements, including the personal strengths, preferences, and abilities of team members. Whether you have a leadership role within a group or are a contributing member, many qualities create a successful team, including:

1. Maintaining open communication

Maintaining open communication is an essential quality for a successful team. Creating an environment where all team members can share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions can lead to better productivity and engagement. There are several ways you can encourage open communication, regardless of your position on the team. These include:

  • Asking other team members for their ideas and opinions

  • Engaging others on a personal level, such as inquiring about family members or activities outside of work

  • Taking part in active listening when others are speaking, giving them your full attention

  • Being respectful and inclusive of all team members

2. Establishing a shared goal

Working towards a common goal helps a team become more productive and cohesive. A shared objective provides team members with something to strive towards and accomplish together. Establishing a well-defined goal requires planning, organization, and communication. When a team has a shared goal, they are likely to feel more effective because they can measure their progress against a defined objective.

For example, a shared goal can include a sales target, customer satisfaction rating, or client conversion percentage. You can use the SMART goal setting framework to create an objective that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If you hold a leadership position, consider involving your team with the planning process to get their insight and ideas.

Related: SMART Goals: Objectives for Your Career

3. Defining individual responsibilities

Defining individual responsibilities helps everyone on the team to know what their role is and how they contribute to the group's success. You can accomplish this by using detailed job descriptions that clearly define each member's tasks and accountabilities. Having an organizational chart to show any hierarchy levels can also help team members understand who they can approach for direction and guidance.

Related: Understanding and Developing Team Members' Roles

4. Building trust between team members

Trust among team members is critical to the success of the group. When each individual can rely on the other team members to contribute their best work, it helps them work more cohesively. Several ways to build trust between team members include:

  • Acknowledging when you don't know something

  • Leading by example and becoming a role model

  • Highlighting the successes and achievements of your colleagues

  • Empowering your colleagues by trusting them first

  • Asking for feedback and taking action on the suggestions

  • Creating an environment for creative collaboration

5. Maximizing team members' strengths

When you can maximize your team members' strengths, you allow them to contribute positively to the group. Identifying the strengths of each individual is critical to this strategy and can include completing a skills assessment, performance review, or personal interview. When you align a team member with duties that match their strengths, you ensure a better outcome for the group. Encouraging individuals to train and mentor others on the team also provides a sense of responsibility and job satisfaction.

Related: Complete Guide to Objectives for Managers (With Examples)

6. Showing respect to everyone on the team

Showing respect to everyone on the team is an important quality for a high-performing group. Respecting one another builds a team based on equality, inclusion, and courtesy. Respect also creates a positive and productive work environment. Some ways to show respect to colleagues include:

  • Practising active listening when someone is speaking to you by giving your full attention to the conversation

  • Asking clarifying or probing questions to show interest in what the person is saying to you

  • Using positive and inclusive language

  • Asking other team members questions related to their area of expertise

  • Offering to help colleagues with their tasks

  • Encouraging team members to express their ideas and opinions

  • Showing gratitude when others have offered assistance

7. Providing helpful feedback

An essential element to creating an efficient team is to provide helpful feedback. Team members want to know the relative status of their work and how they're contributing to the group's overall success. Providing constructive feedback is a valuable way to offer guidance and support while allowing others to do their best work.

Giving encouraging feedback to others in the group helps to build confidence and trust while providing positive reinforcement. If you're in a leadership position on a team, provide constructive feedback that allows your colleagues to develop their skills further. If you're a team member, be willing to accept input from others when completing your tasks.

8. Delegating when possible

A benefit of working as a team is delegating responsibilities and tasks to other team members. Delegation entails choosing the best person for the job and explaining your expectations and why you've chosen them. Proceed by providing detailed instructions, including any relevant procedures, deadlines, and expectations. You can offer training or other resources they can use to complete the activity. Throughout the process, you can offer feedback and guidance to the individual and ensure you express your gratitude for their work and commitment.

9. Celebrating successes

Celebrating success is essential for any team. You can experience successes working with a team that you likely wouldn't have while working alone. Acknowledging your team's progress and honouring the group's achievements is critical to developing a solid team environment. It's vital to recognize both significant and minor accomplishments of individual team members and the group as a whole.

Related: How to Build a Successful Team in 8 Steps

10. Asking questions

Asking clarifying and probing questions is a learned skill that helps create a strong team. When you receive confusing instructions or unclear objectives, asking questions to confirm your understanding encourages open communication within the group. Questions have several critical purposes within a team environment, including defining goals, explaining directions, and encouraging creativity. In addition, when you ask questions of the team, it can prompt others to see challenges with a new perspective or develop innovative solutions.

11. Encouraging fun

Working on a team provides different experiences than working alone. For example, interacting with others in a meaningful way or engaging in unique conversations are beneficial elements of teamwork. Encouraging and having fun is one aspect that provides enjoyment, camaraderie, and team building. Having fun at work can help increase employee retention, improve productivity, and encourage creativity. You can find ways to have fun as a team, such as tasteful humour, out-of-work activities, or theme days.

12. Disagreeing when necessary

While it may seem counterproductive to disagree with others on your team, it's a healthy part of creating a strong team dynamic. Disagreeing with ideas, procedures, or actions is effective when done with awareness and respect. Expressing a difference of opinion can help teams imagine new perspectives, identify and analyze complex problems, and develop innovative solutions.

Healthy disagreement also encourages you to develop your communication and leadership skills. When disagreeing with other team members, ensure you listen to the other person's opinions and use first-person statements to share your thoughts while having a respectful discussion.

Related: How To Be a Successful Team Lead: Roles and Responsibilities

Tips for developing a good team

If you're interested in further developing a team you work in, here are several tips for you to consider:

Do team-building activities

Team-building activities can be a fantastic opportunity for team members to learn more about each other in a fun and relaxed environment. These activities are often non-work-related and provide a chance for individuals to socialize while developing rapport, open communication, and trust. You can also add team-building activities to your daily work routine by having quick check-in meetings with your team or having lunch together occasionally.

Request anonymous feedback

If you're a leader within a team, consider asking for anonymous feedback. Some team members may not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts in front of others, but anonymous feedback allows them to still contribute to the team. Another option is to encourage any team member to approach you for a private conversation to share their ideas and opinions.

Find the right fit

When building a team by hiring new employees, consider how a candidate may fit into the existing team. Hiring suitable additions to the team is critical for creating high-performing teams that share a common objective and mission. In addition, a successful team often includes a mix of personalities and strengths that focus on the organization's vision and core values.

Related articles

What Makes a Team Successful (With Tips and Examples)

Explore more articles