Your best team culture – ASAP! 10 expert tips for building an engaged team

When you’re building a great team culture there is no time to waste. Every negative team moment becomes a corporate memory that you need to counteract, while every mountaintop experience builds solidarity. So how can you have more of those mountaintop experiences? Form a strong team dynamic, rather than an eroded team culture?


If you want one quick tip for team culture, it is to build trust – in an ongoing, continual kind of way. Trust is legendary in its ability to motivate employees. To some, it communicates a basic level of respect that is foundational to their job satisfaction. To others, it inspires them to achieve great heights, as they thrive on being given responsibility. In fact, most people are much more motivated by being given responsibility and support than control and supervision.


Here are 10 tips on how to quickly build trust to create a highly engaged team culture, based on some work I did recently for the Australian Federal Government:


  1. Ensure that each team member’s role is crystal clear. They should know exactly what their role entails and that you share the same expectations. Have a back-and-forth conversation about this, rather than quickly confirming the contents of a document.
  2. Make it your goal to give every team member a fair chance to live up to your expectations. Fairness is a foundational plank of any great team. Be fair, because anything less is horrible and when did you ever want to work somewhere horrible?
  3. Avoid micromanaging your team. This erodes trust and is highly demanding of your time and resources.
  4. When you introduce changes to improve how your team works, avoid laying blame at the feet of any single person. Make the changes team-wide.
  5. Assure your team members of confidentiality if they want to raise any issues about when, where and how they work. This way they will know that they have your support and you care about their experience of work.
  6. Do your best to facilitate clear, fair and open conversations between your team members. Let them know that ‘clear, fair and open’ is the style of communication you want to foster in the team. Some of your team members may take this as permission to make unsolicited or insensitive comments, so make sure you emphasise the importance of being fair, or objective and reasonable.
  7. Give your team members access to communication training. They’ll become more aware of their communication style and will better connect with their peers.
  8. Outline the goals the team is working towards and how you’re making progress. Keep progress reports updated, so people can see the results being delivered.
  9. Stay consistent in your words and actions. It can be tempting to think that a lie here and there is harmless, but even if there are no visible short-term implications, lying undermines trust. Be someone who stands by their word and your team members will come to know they can trust what you say and do.
  10. Don’t ignore poor performance. Generally it is obvious to a person’s peers if they are not pulling their weight. Continuing to tolerate poor performance goes back to fairness; thoughts like “why should he continue to receive an income for doing no work?” can quickly turn into comments that undermine team culture.

How are your team building efforts going? Are you consciously creating an environment of trust to build maximum engagement?


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