What Makes a Good Team?

By Glenn Llopis

Team Management

When it comes to team-building, there's more to it than just throwing a bunch of people together and hoping for the best. So, what makes a good team? Here are three characteristics that make high performing teams.

What Makes a Good Team?

When it comes to team-building, there's more to it than just throwing a bunch of people together and hoping for the best. A good team is one that has synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So, what makes a good team? And how can you create one?

Here’s What Makes a Good Team

Here are three characteristics of high performing teams.

1. High performing teams are led by people with good team management skills.

There are plenty of skills that could be considered good team management skills: organization, leadership, communication and more. But there are two that stand out: know yourself, and know the team.

Know yourself. As the leader of the team, you must be extremely aware of your leadership style and techniques. Are they as effective as you think? How well are they accepted by the team you are attempting to lead? Evaluate yourself and be critical about where you can improve, especially in areas that will benefit those whom you are a leading. Consider these four questions to develop your personal brand as a leader.

Know the team. Fully knowing your team means that you have invested the time to understand how they are wired to think and what is required to motivate them to excel beyond what is expected from them. This requires deliberate action to engineer various opportunities for getting to know each other.

2. High performing teams are centered around inclusive leadership.

Inclusion is about diversity of thought. It’s about finding like-mindedness in our differences. It’s not about pretending differences don’t exist. It’s not about trying to erase differences by forcing people to assimilate to our own leadership style or to the culture of the organization.

It’s about embracing those differences and further exploring them to support the values that unite and serve as our competitive advantages to stimulate new growth, attract new talent, and generate new marketplace opportunities. That requires a focus on individuality—a concerted effort to know and account for the realities and the values of individual employees.

3. High performing teams unleash individuals rather than stifle them.

Employees don’t always want to have to ask for permission. They want to be empowered to make decisions and to learn from their failures. Employees want leaders who will provide them with the mentoring and wisdom to effectively solve problems and become more independent and productive.

Empowerment is the ticket to being more self-sufficient, entrepreneurial and purposeful at work, and employees are empowered when given the right mentorship.

Many Leaders Need Team Building Training

A senior leader at a global corporation told me: “We have paralyzed our people. We have leaders so stuck in standardization that we have to have meetings before meetings, to discuss what we’re going to discuss in the upcoming meeting.”

That’s a sign that team members are not secure within the team and are not sure what’s expected of them. They feel excluded or fear the threat of exclusion. They are so stifled they’re operate from a place of fear rather than a place of ideas and innovation.

Organizations need leaders who can act and people who trust each other. Instead, we have gotcha cultures where people are afraid to do anything—afraid to even talk about doing anything—without assurances that they won’t get in trouble for breaking a standard that was set years ago and is no longer relevant to the realities of today.


If you want to create a high performing team, it’s important to start by understanding what makes one. In our experience, teams that are led by people with good team management skills and who practice inclusive leadership tend to be more successful.

Individuals on these teams are unleashed rather than stifled, and they feel like they can make a real difference. Are you looking for ways to improve your team’s performance? Join our leadership training programs today. We can help you unleash the power of your team and achieve great things together.