Updated: October 09, 2022

Team Building Elements

Here is our list of the most important team building elements.

Team building elements are the keys to creating teams that welcome constructive criticism, communicate consistently, and further organizational goals. For example, diversity, trust, and empathy. The purpose of identifying these components is to build stronger and more effective teams and to improve working environments.

These elements are necessary conditions for the team building process. Being able to achieve these goals requires strong team building skills. Managers can introduce these elements into the workplace in part by playing team games.

This list includes:

  • core team building elements
  • components of high achieving teams
  • essential elements of team building

Alright, here is the list!

List of team building elements

From communication to diversity to delegation, here are all the most important components of high achieving teams with exceptional emotional intelligence.

1. Communication

For several years during college, I worked as a waitress. One lesson I learned from watching the chefs in the kitchen was that timing is everything. If the cooks finished a dish too early, then the entree had to be remade. If the cooks forgot a dish, then the rest of the table had to wait, or that lone diner had to watch the other guests eat. In order for the staff to coordinate the dinner service, communication between stations needed to be impeccable.

A lack of communication can result in delays or double work inside and outside of the kitchen. In modern workplaces, teammates complete individual tasks as part of larger projects. When teammates fail to give updates to other members, the team loses time and labors inefficiently. Colleagues lack clear directions. Coworkers perform unnecessary tasks or skip important steps due to a lack of critical information. When coworkers fail to reach out or reply, team members make incorrect assumptions and misunderstand intent. These misconceptions can lead to frustration, wasted time, and conflict.

Nobody can read minds. In order for teams to run smoothly, teammates need to communicate clearly and consistently with the rest of the crew.

To foster communication within your teams, you should schedule regular meetings, create team channels on programs like Slack and Basecamp, and encourage casual conversation in places like break rooms and Gchat. You set the tone for your team’s communication style, so be sure to share information often, actively listen, and permit discussion.

Here is a list of communication building games for coworkers.

2. Trust

Trust is one of the most essential elements of team building. Trust provides a sense of safety that empowers teammates to take risks, speak transparently, and make decisions quickly. Without trust, group members fall to one extreme or another by either over- questioning or failing to question teammate’s ideas. Employees may not volunteer insightful observations, necessary criticisms, or innovative ideas if these group members fear the ridicule or apathy of peers.

Non-trusting team members act independently, sometimes at the group’s detriment. Teammates who lack faith in peers waste time double or triple checking coworker’s contributions. Not to mention, mistrust breeds low employee morale.

Establishing trust within teams enables workers to propose and challenge creative ideas, and leads to improved relationships and higher employee retention.

To foster trust, you can facilitate team bonding with activities like icebreakers. Teams depend on every single member to meet deadlines, complete work, and fulfill promises. You should hold team members accountable for shares of the work, and encourage teammates to ask for help when needed  instead of failing to follow through.

Here is a list of ways to improve trust at work.

3. Leadership

Flexible leadership is one of the most important teamwork skills because there are times to lead and times to follow when working in a group.

If one team member dominates all tasks and guides the team in all situations, then the group will fall apart in that member’s absence. If a teammate never steps up, then the team may miss out on valuable insights or skills. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, which means that some tasks and situations are better suited to certain teammates.

Teamwork means recognizing when taking charge is appropriate, and when it is better to relinquish control. Good teams contain an effective overall leader and supervisor, but also individual leaders within the group.

To foster leadership, model good leadership to your team. You should be direct and decisive, but open to criticism and new ideas. To encourage other team members to step up and be leaders, praise your teammates’ abilities and accomplishments and offer constructive feedback on areas of improvement.

Learn more about the most important leadership skills.

4. Diversity

Diversity is an integral part of team building. Homogenous teams do not serve each other well, but instead act as an echo chamber. Without diversity, teams lack the ability to analyze situations from multiple viewpoints and choose the best course of action.

When diversity is present in teams, every team member contributes a different competency and area of expertise. Teammates grow faster and think more critically.

To foster diversity, assemble your teams mindfully. You can analyze your crew’s current makeup and identify gaps. Though you want to add team members that are a culture fit, you also want to attract talents and outlooks that will complement, not mirror, your team. You can also acknowledge and praise differences within your team to encourage uniqueness.

Here is a list with diversity and inclusion activities for virtual teams.

5. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to comprehend and experience the feelings of another living  being. This trait is one of the core team building elements because it breeds trust and safety within group settings. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees with empathetic leaders and coworkers are happier and more productive at work.

Empathy allows you to identify the real root of problems within your team by providing a window into other team members’ logic and motivations. You will understand a team member’s reasoning, even if you disagree with the conclusion. As a result, you are less likely to argue and more likely to lead the group towards a consensus.

Compassion and understanding also deepen bonds within teams and lead to better relationships. All of us have lives outside the office; our job titles are only one portion of our identities.

To foster empathy, you should take interest in teammates as human beings, not just workers. You can engage colleagues in casual conversations and encourage other team members to do the same. You can also lead your team through role playing exercises to encourage coworkers to adopt different perspectives and gain new insight.

Here is a list of ways to promote empathy at work.

6. Delegation

Delegating means assigning responsibilities to other teammates. On a team, every member has a part to play. Ideally, you should divide work evenly and allot tasks that correspond to team members’ strengths.

Delegation is a tricky art. Many leaders and teammates struggle to cede control, preferring to take on the bulk of the work. This method is inefficient, because high-achieving team members waste time doing tasks that other team members could easily handle. Some leaders rely on subordinates to assume roles with too much responsibility. Either way, this kind of behavior voids the benefits of working together, transforming coworkers into lackeys instead of equals. Over-utilizing or under-utilizing certain team members can lead to resentment, frustration, and burnout. Entrusting teammates with appropriate responsibilities shows respect and builds employee confidence.

To foster delegation, acknowledge teammates’ strengths and draw attention to accomplishments. You can periodically inventory workloads and redistribute tasks as necessary. When adjusting assignments, you can frame your actions as an experiment to find the most efficient combination for the team.

Final thoughts

Building strong teams means empowering employees by setting clear expectations, establishing group values, and forming a functional support system. Great teams will exhibit all the key elements of teamwork even when leaders are not present.

Next, check out these lists of team building books and questions for team building.

FAQ: Team building elements

Here are some answers to the most common questions regarding team building elements.

What are team building elements?

Team building elements are traits of impressive teamwork. These components help form accomplished teams that require minimal oversight.

What are the key elements of team building?

The key elements of team building include trust, communication, and empathy. These components form the framework for constructing teams that interact efficiently and rise to challenges willingly.

How do you build a strong team?

First and foremost, you build strong teams by modeling ideal teamwork as a leader. When teams observe you communicating clearly, exhibiting empathy, and delegating, your teammates will follow suit and adopt those same behaviors. By using these key team building elements as guiding principles, you can ensure your teams form strong interpersonal bonds, develop resilience and flexibility, and achieve great results.

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