7 Simple Strategies for Effective Team Building

Illustration of hands put together in a team circle

There is an old adage in human resources: ‘People don’t leave companies, they leave managers’.

In today’s ultra-competitive labour market, where young professionals are job-hopping more than ever before, good management is an essential skill to have. Without it, your company’s turnover rate will remain high, and this could ultimately impact your bottom line – US businesses lose about $11 billion a year from employee turnover.

In the absence of effective leadership, you breed a toxic work environment. Productivity levels diminish, teamwork is nowhere to be found and communication between departments doesn’t happen. These trends in the workplace do not exactly elicit confidence in young people entering the workforce.

The first step is to establish your role as the leader of the ship. The next step is to improve teamwork in your company at all levels, from management to entry level. Only then can you ensure that your employees are happy with the manager, content with their colleagues and pleased with their jobs.

Here are 7 simple and incredibly useful team-building strategies to help you build an effective team – and boost morale in the process.

1. Adopt an Open-Door Policy

Over the years, multiple studies have found that employees feel as though the company’s HR department doesn’t listen to them, that management doesn’t acknowledge their hard work and that the boss doesn’t respect them. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if workers are doing their best day in and day out.

A simple but effective strategy is to adopt a companywide open-door policy. You want every employee to feel heard and part of something meaningful, and you can achieve this by:

  • communicating with your team on a regular basis
  • listening to various ideas and concerns
  • updating personnel on corporate changes
  • taking action should a staff member report harassment.

It is crucial that you embrace clarity and refrain from being ambiguous and vague.

2. Set Boundaries and Give Direction

Many businesses are experimenting with a diverse panoply of office dynamics to see what works and what doesn’t. A common trend that some new entrepreneurs and enterprises are trying is a business without management and bosses. It may generate headlines at first, but these companies inevitably flounder because every office needs a leader.

Let’s be honest: most employees need to be given boundaries and direction. Without these two pertinent elements, the team will not produce or achieve corporate goals. At the same time, you can still extend guidance with respect and consideration.

This can be accomplished by outlining objectives, making the company’s aims transparent, providing consistent feedback and leading by example. Being an example to the group means holding yourself accountable, refusing to be disgruntled and always trying to improve yourself.

3. Manage Sensibly

A 2014 survey of employees discovered that 59% of workers have been employed by an overbearing, domineering, micromanaging boss at some point in their professional lives. There is nothing more stressful and frustrating than working with a micromanager who does not trust their staff to get the job done. It therefore comes as no surprise that one-fifth of employees are displeased with their manager – after all, no employee enjoys having their boss look over their shoulder the entire workday.

This needs to change immediately, and it starts by motivating, encouraging, trusting and empowering your workers. This is done by laying out ideas, lending a hand from time to time, taking a step back and allowing your employees to work in their own style and at their own pace. If you make a conscious effort, then you will be rewarded with a dedicated and confident workforce.

4. Gamify Work

It may surprise businessowners, but employees are more motivated by recognition and appreciation than by monetary rewards. In other words, if you acknowledge the individual’s hard work, determination and punctilious nature, the employee will be incentivised to take that extra step. This is sort of a gamification inside the workplace.

One important feature of gamification is to provide instant feedback, which is something that experts say today’s generation of workers require. When you’re considering gamification, you need to further install the social experience because it spurs healthy competition, keeps workers engaged at all times and allows staff members to continually learn and hone their craft.

Perhaps it is time to enter 2018 and incorporate gamification into your management techniques. It is indeed a creative way to enhance teamwork.

5. Organise a Corporate Retreat

Did you know that leaders have fun, too? It isn’t all just business. Should you maintain a stuffy environment, you potentially risk minimising bonding between your subordinates. And this isn’t something you want to achieve, because an indifferent team affects the dynamics of your office.

The best way to facilitate interoffice relationships is to go on a corporate retreat. For years, offices have utilised offsite team-building activities to enable trust, understanding and likeability among colleagues. Everything from participating in sporting activities to partaking in a philanthropic endeavour, there are many events that you can take advantage of in your city, or at least in your region, that can help you cultivate teamwork.

Experts note that you don’t even need to travel into the woods to have a corporate retreat. An inexpensive event is to have some downtime at the office. Meetings, deadlines, appointments – these can produce stress and anxiety, but giving everyone some free time can organically allow your staff to converge and talk about the latest Netflix show, play a game of Gin Rummy or even learn about each other.

6. Give Employees Autonomy

Why do we fall? To learn to pick ourselves up. Legendary economist Milton Friedman may have said it best that an economy works best when we have the freedom to try, the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. This also applies to the office. Trial and error is a strategy that should not be avoided but embraced. After all, if you don’t experiment and try something new, then you can’t flourish.

A great managing method is to give your staff some level of autonomy on any project. By extending this independence, you’re highlighting your trust in each and every one of your employees. Sure, some workers will experience hiccups, but others may take the ball and run with it, helping the company develop a new scheme or gain some market share over competitors.

If your workers are walking on eggshells and they’re afraid to stray away from the book, then the status quo will reign supreme. You don’t want that, especially in today’s ultra-competitive global economy. Take a chance on your staff and they will take a chance on you.

7. Solve Team Problems

Will all coworkers work in harmony? That’s wishful thinking. Unfortunately, no matter how many team-building exercises you implement, there will be at least two employees who can’t work together, either because of professional differences or clashing personalities. It’s hard to manage, but it’s possible.

The rudimentary solution to solving team problems is mediating the situation. It is up to you as an owner or head of human resources to sit down, air out grievances and resolve personal issues. By getting these petty differences out of the way, the group can concentrate on what matters most: getting work done.

In the end, it comes down to communication on your part, making compromises with the group and knowing how to respect each idea, recommendation or personality. Mediating is all about actively listening, not ignoring concerns and complaints.


As you can see, employing effective team-building strategies can be done with the right leadership. The modern crop of entrepreneurs and managers do a great job of ensuring projects are completed on time, the right marketing campaign is released and the books are balanced. However, many corporate heads fail to build up the team, whether it’s 10 employees or 100 employees. If you become a real leader, then you will have your workforce behind you through thick and thin.

Can you think of any other effective team-building strategies? Join the conversation down below and let us know.