Originally answered Nov 11, 2017
The best way to build good teamwork is through authentic leadership, good communication, and fostering mutual respect and trust between team members.
One-time team-building exercises don’t do much lasting good. In my career, the following have worked well for teams I have led:
- Meet in person regularly, especially if the team is virtual, allowing plenty of time for conversations.
- Periodically spend time together in social activities the team likes, such as meals, outings, hikes, picnics, pool days, pub crawls, movies, concerts, etc.
- Spend part of team meetings sharing knowledge, stories, hobbies, music, movies, books, travel, journey maps, etc.
- Come up with a nickname for each team member that is meaningful to that team member and fun for the team to use.
- Be as transparent as possible, including encouraging the team to work out loud.
- Solicit the ideas of the team, and try to use them as much as possible.
- Recognize, praise, and thank team members regularly, and encourage them to do the same, e.g., on Thankful Thursdays.
- Have the team come up with roles and responsibilities for themselves over and above their official job duties, e.g., meeting planner, outing coordinator, food procurer, music provider, photographer, videographer, collaboration space maintainer, action item scribe, etc.
- Delegate tasks fairly, taking into account each team member’s skills and interests.
- Enable the team to decide and act as much as possible for themselves.
- Coalescing a New Team — Creating Ties That Bind by Nancy Settle-Murphy
- Please! No more Icebreakers: 5 Ways to Get a Group Connected Without Icebreakers by Nancy Dixon
- What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
- 20 Tips for Good Conversations
- 10 Tips for Successful Face-to-Face Meetings
- Communicate authentically
- Articles, Presentation, and Books about Leadership