13 Critical Team Building Skills: The Path to Becoming a Better, More Respected Leader

A team leader using her team building skills to present to her team of diverse colleagues

Build a team so strong you don’t know who the boss is.” To build those relationships and an efficient team, developing team building skills is essential. Indeed, what’s a team leader if they can’t listen, understand, motivate and gather the people he or she leads?

Acquiring a few key team building skills like communication, management and coordination are then necessary to complete this task.

As we want your team to succeed, in this blog post, we’ll talk about the team building skills that you can develop to be a real team leader. What are they? Why are they so important? How do you get them? Read on to find out!

All you need to know about Team building skills

What Are Team Building Skills?

Team building skills are the set of skills that allow team supervisors to lead their teams towards shared goals and motivate team members. They enable you to help individual employees invest and work in a cohesive group.

They can be divided into three categories: communication, management and coordination skills:

  • Communication involves the team building skills that will help a team supervisor to better understand each team member.
  • Management gathers the team-building skill that he or she should know to actually lead and motivate a group.
  • And finally, the coordination skills are the skills that will help to get a team set up and organized.

You can develop those for yourself but also for all your employees by organizing some in-person or virtual team building activities.

Why are team-building skills so important?

Nowadays, companies especially look for team managers with team building skills, who know how to create this bonding between team members.

And with more and more teams now working remotely, this skill is crucial for team coordination and team collaboration, which will help to have a better team work.

Employers believe that highly collaborative teams will achieve greater productivity.

In an effective team, every member feels that their input is valued. And even though all team members are encouraged to set common team goals, define the steps to take and achieve as a united group, a team actually needs a true leader who has the right team building skills, to drive this process.

What are the six teamwork skills?

Here are six teamwork skills that you should work on to be either recognized as a great manager, or to build a good relationship with your teammates.

  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Collaboration

What are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?

For teamwork and collaboration, 3 important skills could be active listening, to communicate effectively and conflict resolution skills.

To listen effectively without interrupting others’ speech, having the strength to gather faith around a common goal and incite every team member to work together and working on overcoming problems quickly – will be vital in bringing a team together.

Clearly defined roles for each team member can also help with collaboration and ensuring your success as a team leader.

Team leader explaining a document to his employees around an office table
A cohesive team is essential for a manager to lead.

Communication Skills: Team building skills to unite team members

We gathered some examples of the skills you need in order to create a team of people with great relationships, a shared purpose and successful achievements.

Communication and Expression

Strong communication skills are essential for uniting a group. You need to be able to use both verbal and written communication skills to explain decisions, resolve conflicts or to establish team goals for example.

To be a good communicator, you have to be as specific and clear as possible when communicating. It is important that you clearly express ideas in ways that others can understand.

Make sure you also employ an adequate tone of voice to communicate your message in a positive and engaging way.

Learning to communicate effectively also requires listening skills, which can help you deal with coworkers, customers and clients.

Listening

Speaking is not the only form of communication you can use in the office to unify your coworkers. Talking and listening are actually equally important team traits.

A lack of listening and being understood can lead to frustration among employees. It’s then your job to make sure all conversation participants feel heard and free to express their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Listening behavior is thus one of the greatest team building tools you can work on to help develop team spirit and build confidence in the workplace.

The importance of listening skills is that they allow you to understand what others are communicating through body language or facial expression.

One of the most important team building skills is active listening. This requires focusing on the speaker and responding appropriately to their nonverbal cues.

If you are able to acquire this precise active listening skill, you are on the right path to become a great communicator!

Empathy

The empathy you develop accomplishes two things: it builds stronger relationships among team members, and furthers the solidarity of the group.

It’s a skill that allows you to understand the feelings, needs and motivations of your teammates. To gain empathy for others, you need to listen without judgment. With this open-minded spirit, try to understand the point of views, concerns and struggles of every team member.

If you are able to apply this skill in the office, all employees will feel that they are being considered and appreciated.

This will help them to open themselves and maybe to solve problems they are experiencing. Their work experience can only get better!

Reflecting

Because managing is also about building trust with your team, it’s important to be vulnerable – but not too much either! – and share with your group some truthful moments. Reflecting on your own path or experiences – good, and especially bad – can actually help…

Remember your flaws and don’t try to hide them. Instead, be open to reasonable critique and share them with your team if it is related.

Show the way and inspire them to have the integrity to act in a truthful manner and speak openly. Indeed, learning to be honest with your team about your missteps will help your teammates to open-up themselves.

One piece of advice though, ensure team members that they are not alone and that the team is there for the good and bad moments.

If someone starts sharing, they need to know that the team and the leader will be there to help fix the issue.

An option to start could be for example to reflect on a group project. Think about the achievements and mistakes whenever a project ends. Use this moment to brainstorm together the possible improvements for the next ones.

You will see, an honest group speeds up the completion of projects and improves trust among team members!

Management Skills: Team building skills to get your team working the right way

Leadership

To be an excellent team builder and to create an effective team environment, you need to develop both soft and hard skills as a leader.

Soft skills are the social skills one has that affect the way they communicate with others. These skills show how you are handling yourself in difficult social situations.

A common example of a soft skill would be “persuasiveness”.

You could say that conflict management is a hard skill in regards to management and leadership. It’s also called dispute resolution.

Conflict is a natural part of any workplace, but good managers know how to manage it productively so team harmony isn’t threatened.

A great manager knows how to use the power of communication and emotional intelligence in order to turn negative energy into something more positive where everyone gets heard without judging others or making matters worse with sarcastic comments.

They’re able to work as an ally for their employees who are dealing with disagreements among themselves or other external disruptions from those outside their immediate groups (ie customers).

As a leader you should establish the team’s goals and manage your team towards achieving those.

Leaders also take care of briefing, defining objectives and showing the right way to do, so team members can follow and cooperate.

When you are the team leader, it’s important to know that your team needs a clear vision of what they’re working towards. If there is no sense of purpose or direction for team members then they will have low productivity and faith about their work.

Leadership skills is also referring to the ability to identify the members that are having difficulties and to show some decision making skills when issues arise.

Motivation

Another huge task for a team builder is to inspire their team member’s goals within a project. Motivation skills are then an important part of effective team building skills.

Team members are typically more engaged with a project and willing to improve the quality and quantity of their creative production if they feel motivated to invest their time into their tasks. Motivational energy helps team members achieve objectives and create a real team spirit within the group.

It’s then the team builder’s responsibility to make sure that they remain motivated as well. Motivation can come in many forms and will have a different effect on your coworkers based on their personality and personal preferences.

Motivation can simply come from saying encouraging words and recognizing the investment. It could also come from showing the benefits of working hard on their tasks for them to get a purpose to what they are doing.

Other motivational tricks include financial bonuses. Rewards such as an extra day off, a small gift or an invite to an event could also work as a motivation leverage.

Giving & Getting Feedback

Feedback exchanges are essential skills for working in a great team.

Receiving feedback is not always a pleasant experience but it’s an essential one. Give and get feedback allows you to mindfully design your perfect team. Just that, right?

As a team leader, you should totally encourage feedback. So, make sure everyone on the team has equal opportunities to give and receive feedback. It can be from the team leader, but also from any team member.

If your team is not yet ready to speak candidly, then solicit anonymous feedback to each employee in a tactful way.

Be certain to frame feedback as an opportunity to grow, not a judgment.

Accepting criticism doesn’t mean that you have to agree with the points made but make sure everyone keeps an open-minded spirit so that no one’s feelings get hurt.

Remember, if the constructive comments are then applied by your coworkers, it can really enhance their potential and productivity within your company.

A coworker speaking in a meeting while two others listen with uncertain looks on their faces.
Not all employees are receptive to receiving feedback. Handling conflicts in the office place is a reality for every leader looking to build their team building skills.

Resolving Conflict

Disagreement is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it can even generate amazing ideas.

But resolving conflicts between team members is still a necessary and important team building skill.

Indeed, you don’t want to see your team burst into arguments instead of working together, hand to hand.

A team builder needs to be that mediator who will have the ability to listen to both sides of a conflict, and help come to an agreement between the participants involved.

To resolve a conflict, ask team members to respectfully share their perspectives, listen carefully as others are speaking and actively listen. You don’t want to create more issues, nor to let the conflicts escalate.

Resolving conflict doesn’t always mean that all team players will be on the same page- it’s about understanding where they each stand and finding a win/win solution.

Make sure you and your employees develop this crucial skill to keep your team united.

Coordinating Skills: Team Building Skills to get your team set up efficiently

Role Assigning

As a team leader, it’s your responsibility to define a goal and map out a way to get everyone there.

Choose an end goal and deadline for the whole team but also specific ones for each team member.

The last thing you want to hear mid-journey is: “I didn’t do that?” or “Why are you doing that? I already did it.”

By having clear roles and a goal in mind, we can avoid confusion. This will lead to harmony for the team!

Develop the skills necessary to lead your team and enjoy the journey.

Matchmaking

One of the many hats a team leader will have to wear is to be an expert matchmaker.

No, we’re not talking about blind dates, we’re talking about one of the most key interpersonal skills – matching people who have complementary skills and personalities.

It’s not just about figuring out who gets along best with each, as some people can be grating on one another’s nerves, but it also requires selecting people who will work well together in terms of their organizational styles and workflows.

Pro tip: Using icebreakers and team building games are a great way to get teams to play, interact and find common ground. It also allows you to analyze how 2 participants, or more, fit and work together.

Organizing

Because building a team is also organizing it, be sure to develop a strong organizational system and stick to it so that everyone knows where to post and where to find important information.

A few examples are Slack, Teams or Skype for Business to build conversations with different members of your group.

It’s important that they stay connected to each other, especially in those challenging times that force us to work remotely.

Google Calendar and Trello are also great tools to better coordinate and organize your teams on different projects.

Calendar can be used to either see your team’s calendar or to schedule tasks for them.

Trello can be great to have an overview on the different stages of a project (lists or calendar too).

Those tools are key in finding out what everyone is doing and to let them share information with each other. This will help build up a strong group belonging, as long as you make sure not to forget anyone in the process!

To know more, read our blog post on our top 5 best apps for improving office productivity if you want to improve your organizational skills.

Delegating

Delegating is a true collaboration skill for a modern workplace.

One important skill for a good leader is to help your team members equally contribute. It’s especially important when too many people take on responsibilities, while others ignore them.

How do you help your team members equally contribute? One way is by setting up an accountability system where everyone does regular reports and shares progress with one another, or that each member

In order to delegate effectively, you must put the group at the center of all tasks. Discussing workload as a team and dividing work evenly among members are key steps towards delegating well. Be transparent about goals from start and assess skills accordingly when assigning tasks

Allow team members to take on small projects in addition to their main responsibilities, and allow them flexibility when tackling different projects.

Problem Solving

Problem solving is often a key aspect of team building. Other than the conflict resolution between individuals that we discussed above, the company can also be confronted to some work-related issues.

When a problem arises, the ultimate goal is to solve it in such a way that including the team achieves its goals and maintains your members working well together.

To solve work-related issues, try to gather the team around the issue, brainstorm, cover all options, and choose the best one together.

As a precaution, you may want to involve your HR department in cases of team member’s having conflicts and ask for their advice.

Make sure you listen to all participants.

You’ll need to be able to understand the concerns of every member so they feel heard and respected.

You might also need to get creative to overcome a complicated issue in order to lift up unliftable barriers.

Team building games are a great way to achieve this ability as they often call for creativity and collaboration.

Making Team Building Part of Your Culture

Team building is about providing skills and resources that your people need. It must be embedded into your organization’s culture.

You can easily implement this thanks to reoccurring team building activities that have a clear purpose, such as improving a particular skill.

Make team building part of your group’s mindset to strengthen the bonds between participants.

Here are a few ideas to make team building part of your company culture.

Indoor Team Building Activities

Indoor team building activities can be a bit more serious than outdoor activities. Because of where they are conducted, these activities typically have a much different character.

However, the aim is the same: they are designed to help improve communication, trust and teamwork skills.

Examples of Indoor team building games could be word games, the ultimate Ninja game and many others.

Outdoor Team Building Activities

Outdoor team building exercises have a decidedly different flavor than their indoor counterparts. Outdoor activities generally tend to be more fun and active.

Activities should amplify the energy of the group’s relaxed mood. The business fades into the background as you focus more on helping the team come together, developing specific skills and having a good time.

Go outside with some of your favorite activities to the end of the weekend away from the office on an outdoor retreat, such as canoeing, cycling and swimming, or even – let’s be crazy – on a team building escapade to Paris!

Young man showing a diverse group of employees his laptop screen while crouching down
Take your team building skills online – build a stronger remote team with virtual team building activities.

Virtual Team Building Activities

Remote workers are often left feeling separated from their teams. They can feel isolated and struggle to find opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with colleagues: this is where virtual socializing comes in!

It’s possible to stay in regular and effective communication with virtual team members, given a wide range of online tools that are available.

Watch out for time zones and cultural differences that can present additional challenges when considering team building activities for your remote teams.

If you’re short on ideas, read our articles on how to organize a Zoom Scavenger Hunt, a Virtual Happy Hour , or our post on 5-minute team building exercises.

Use these ideas to help bring your remote team together in the virtual world of work, it’s all yours!

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Just as Rome, building a team does not happen in one day. There are many complementary skills you need such as management, communication, decision making or problem solving to develop a group.

It might look like a lot but acquiring those team building skills will definitely help you develop a strong team to lead a successful project.

Remember, capable and functional teams all start with skillful leaders. And confident, competent, and considerate leaders impress colleagues.

Keep improving, and your teams are sure to improve too!