Team Habits: Small Steps for Building High-Performing Teams

An illustration of people building a puzzle representing how team habits can build a high-performing teams

A team is not merely a collection of individuals working together; it's a social entity with inherent emotional foundations. As a leader, you may be committed to your own personal success. However, you must also have the leadership skills to assemble a strong team around yourself.

Creating an effective team starts with successfully choosing team members. Team effectiveness is all about collaboration and teamwork, open dialogue, and creating an environment where diverse voices are heard and valued, where all the team members can flourish and grow. And the leader’s role is to communicate clearly and build trust among team members. 

Cultivating team habits, positive and effective communication, and building a sense of belonging in the workplace are all practical steps that gradually shape a cohesive team environment, making it applicable and valuable for any business.

The Power of Small Changes for Extraordinary Results

In building a top-tier leadership team, the impact of small habits often goes unnoticed. Even minor adjustments in the habits of individual contributors can reshape how businesses are led and what they can accomplish, turning them into the driving force behind extraordinary results.

The teams we work on rely on individual efforts. If small changes to habits can lead to powerful results for individuals, it is easy to imagine what impact it can have on teams. By consistently cultivating team habits, companies foster a culture of trust and reliability, resulting in an improved work atmosphere and increased productivity.

In a Qonversations episode with Brian Gorman, Charlie Gilkey, author of "Team Habits: How Small Habits Lead to Extraordinary Results," talked about the importance of collective team habits, the power of teamwork, the friction points often found in a workplace, and how small habits can resolve them.

"No matter your role in the company, you have the power to change your team's habits." ~Charlie Gilkey 


The Essence of Belonging: The Bedrock of High-Performing Teams


Cultivating team habits boosts productivity and creates unity and a sense of belonging in the workplace. Good leaders can create a great workplace culture by turning simple things like coffee breaks or everyday conversations into transformative factors that can make a big difference to their teams:

  • Beyond coffee: Recognize that coffee breaks are not just about caffeine; they are opportunities for team members to connect on a personal level.

  • Customize environments: Encourage individuals to personalize their workspaces, creating a sense of identity and comfort.

  • Friendly chit-chat and the importance of small talk: Acknowledge that casual conversations are not distractions; they are vital for building stronger bonds among team members.

  • Inclusive practices: Be intentional about inclusion, making room for diverse voices and perspectives.
Recognizing the individuals on your team beyond their professional roles sets the stage for a collaborative and supportive environment and creates a sense of belonging.


Decision-Making: A Social and Emotional Endeavor

Leaders may create decisions based solely on facts and data, but the reality is that decisions at work are social and emotional actions. Understanding the emotional dimensions involved in decision-making is crucial for effective leadership. Instead of nurturing fast-paced choices, leaders should make room for deliberate thinkers—pausing and collecting thoughts are equally important, as not every answer needs to be instantaneous. Sometimes, it’s necessary to break free from hierarchical decision-making structures and empower individuals at all levels to contribute meaningfully. Leaders should clearly communicate the intent of decisions, allowing team members to navigate dynamic situations with a shared understanding of success.

Communicate effectively


Being able to communicate positively and effectively is the foundation for more efficient collaboration and building a healthier work environment. Leaders play an essential part in leading individuals in their organizations through hardships and difficult situations. Whether personal challenges, professional losses, or organizational changes, communication is the driving force in building strong relationships and creating a space where team members feel safe. Effective communication is critical in the world of leadership. It's not just about what is said but how it is communicated—considering others, creating trust, teamwork, and striving for collective betterment.

“If we greet people with intention—are authentic and sincere—the other person will feel that with much more impact.”~ Julien C. Mirivel and Alexander Lyon


Ultimately, the journey toward an effective team is a collective one, where each member actively contributes to shaping a culture of collaboration, respect, and continuous improvement. Small changes, like incorporating intentional practices for inclusivity or giving individuals a say in decision-making can lead to transformative results. Team habits are not just about productivity tricks; they involve a deeper understanding of the social, emotional, and political aspects of teamwork. By empowering individuals to make a difference in their teams, leaders can build teamwork and collaboration and lay the foundation for a top-tier leadership team. Interpersonal power plays a crucial role in creating a sense of belonging, building resilience, and enabling teams to collectively navigate challenges while maintaining cohesion. By committing to all these challenges, leaders will set themselves up to lead and inspire others. It does take skill to create a truly successful team, and coaching may play a crucial role in tapping into the full potential of leaders. Choose to be Your Best!



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