Team is an easy word to say, but merely bringing together a group of professionals – even if individually brilliant – is not in itself enough to guarantee success.

There are numerous variables at play which contribute to making a team one sole, cohesive, high-performing entity ready to achieve its objectives, and not just an amalgamation of individual elements.

Let’s take a look at five pieces of advice for transforming a group of individuals into a smart, successful team.

1. Unity is strength

Studies of the dynamics of small- to medium-sized groups have revealed that the highest performing teams are those blessed with social intelligence. This precious skill goes far beyond individual intellect and refers to the ability to reason within a group and create a network by bringing the strengths and insights of individuals together in a virtuous cycle.

2. The value of gender diversity

Teams made up exclusively of women or men risk coming up against objective limitations relating to the specific characteristics of their genders. Creating a balanced union between the female and male approaches, enables the team to extract the best from its individuals and create a potent, successful mix.

3. The importance of team building

Feeling like you are part of a united team, creating bonds with your colleagues and strengthening human and professional relationships increases engagement levels within the team. This sense of involvement helps binding individuals together, and gives them the energy and motivation they need to work intelligently and reach their objectives.

4. Old and new

While we agree that you shouldn’t change a winning formula, it’s also true that an influx of new faces within a team is always an excellent way to inject renewed impetus in the pursuit of results. The most effective, high-performing teams are those that find the perfect balance between experienced heads and new faces full of fight and motivation.

5. Promote physical contact

Body language is the best way of generating empathy within a team. Promoting contact between members of the team and getting into the habit of exchanging physical gestures of positive reinforcement – such as a slap on the back, a handshake or a high five – is a simple yet effective strategy. Teams accustomed to physical contact demonstrate greater internal cohesion, better cooperation levels and more impressive performance.


Do you agree, #growingleader? What other ways of promoting good teamwork have you learnt over your academic or professional career?

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