What makes a really good team

A really good team is practically priceless – and at the same time essential for companies in the age of digitization. Projects benefit from the diverse skills of the members of a good team and the members themselves can also benefit from the cooperation. What does it take to create such a good team? We explain that in this article.


What makes a good team? The common goal!

The researchers Katzenbach and Smith collected data from 50 teams in 30 companies and the result was clear what makes a good team. Above all, they had one thing in common: clearly defined performance targets, both for the near and the distant future. 

Having goals in mind helps to structure actions and communication and to keep the focus. In addition, you can always be aware of what you can contribute to achieving the goals and that you are making a meaningful contribution to your company. A good team takes this to heart both for performance goals and for every meeting.

However, it would not be a good goal to improve productivity, for example. That would be far too imprecise to be able to deduce concrete actions from it or to know when the goal has been reached. This can be used as an aid to formulating constructive goals SMART objectives model to use:

Example: We will improve the Google rating of our cafe (-> specific, relevant) by ½ stars (-> measurable, achievable) by the end of the year (-> time-bound).


Communication as the foundation for what makes a good team

Everyone knows listening is important, but have you ever heard someone go to a seminar or actively take the time to practice their listening skills? How much that would help us in teamwork. That would be something that makes a good team.

The crash course: first listen to the other person completely and only then make comments and assessments. Otherwise there is a risk that arguments will be refuted in the head before they have even been fully executed.
Additional tip: Repeat what has been said in your own words from time to time to make sure that you have understood the other person correctly.

On the other hand, there is plenty of good advice on how to express criticism or deal with discrepancies. You can read about how to establish an open feedback culture in your teams in this article from us:

It is important that everyone knows the rules and methods for giving feedback and expressing criticism. If this culture is accepted by everyone, it is easier not to take these comments personally, but to see them as an integral part of a good team.


What makes a good team? The right team atmosphere!

As difficult as it can sometimes be, teamwork has a clear plus point: Community. A positive atmosphere and friendly interaction lead to higher job satisfaction and better well-being. Working with people you like makes it easier to work with and reduces stress. 

However, you shouldn't force this by dividing the teams so that people work together who are already friends. That's not the definition of what makes a good team. This would run the risk of the teams becoming too homogeneous. Much better is a diversity in teams in terms of their knowledge, demographics, values and social status in order to be able to represent as many different perspectives as possible.

The cohesion of the team can also be promoted, which is positive for the company and the members themselves. To form a good team is the goal for many Team building workshopsto dissolve competition, build trust, improve communication and strengthen bonds with one another. 

McGregor made a character list of what makes a good team:

What makes a good team – Conclusion

A good team can be achieved through shared goals, good communication and harmonious cooperation. The advantages are obvious: You feel you belong and stress is reduced. 

Unfortunately, things don't always go that well and team members could get together hinder each other or be dissatisfied. To prevent that, you can use regular team workshops can be used with our digital team coach Echometer.

Read an experience report here on how Echometer can help teams to achieve good and effective teamwork through retrospectives:


Katzenbach, JR, & Smith, DK (2015). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Harvard Business Review Press.

McGregor, D. (1960) The Human Side of Enterprise. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.

Nerdinger, FW, Blickle, G., & Schaper, N. (2014). Industrial and organizational psychology. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 

Parker, G., & Hoffman, R. (2006) Meeting Excellence: Tools to Lead Meetings That Get Results. San Francisco: Jossey – Bass

Parker, GM (1990). Team players and teamwork. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

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