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The Main Ingredient of a “True Team”

Monday August 10, 2020

The Main Ingredient of a “True Team”

Monday August 10, 2020

A team gathered in an office building reviewing company data on a whiteboard around a table

What’s the definition of a team? Is a team simply a group of people? Are you a part of a true team? These topics are essential for shaping the right leadership and communication strategies.
Everyone wants to manage or be on a “true team.” The goal is to be a part of a high-performance team that can handle any challenges it encounters. However, simply wanting a high level of team commitment isn’t enough to ensure it happens. It might take a bit of planning and a lot of work.

Here’s an overview of why team commitment is critical to becoming a “true team,” and how to improve it in your organization.

What Is a True Team?

A team is a group of people who work together to accomplish a common objective. A “true team,” however, has one additional distinguishing factor.


Harvard Business Review (HBR) argues that a true team is a group of individuals who share two primary characteristics:

  1. Collective work: Everyone works together collaboratively in pursuit of a shared end goal.
  2. Team commitment: Everyone on the team is mutually committed to both the team and their team members, sharing common purpose, goals, and values.

Members of a true team share a genuine conviction that “we” will succeed or fail together, and that no individual can succeed while the team fails. Mutual commitment means that teammates not only think and act collectively, but the social and emotional bonds among them are compelling.

3 Important Facts About Team Commitment

A team of researchers from Technische Universität Braunschweig ran a unique longitudinal study on the effects of team commitment over time. They uncovered several important findings:

  • Commitment drives results: Team commitment leads to higher team performance and altruism between co-workers.
  • Team commitment can compensate for other gaps: A lack of overall commitment to the company can be compensated by team commitment. This is important for retention management, especially in larger organizations.
  • Building commitment takes time: Team commitment doesn’t happen overnight. It develops slowly over time when employees reflect on their relationship with their team.

Many team leaders tend to spend most of their time managing individual by individual, paying little attention to the holistic group dynamics. HBR encourages leaders to manage their teams as a whole while not forgetting to recognize individuals for their distinct contributions.

How To Improve Team Commitment

Creating and leading a true team is a crucial management skill whether you lead a permanent group of direct reports or a virtual, highly diverse, widely-dispersed, temporary team created to tackle a specific problem or opportunity.

1. Evaluate Your Level of Team Commitment

When you’re trying to evaluate team commitment, it might seem too abstract to get an answer. However, three questions can be used to get a good gauge of whether you have excellent team commitment or you need to work on it.

  • Do you trust your team?
  • Does your team trust you?
  • Do your team members trust each other?

A high-performing team is one where the answer to all three questions is a resounding yes.

2. Connect Your Team’s Goals to Company Goals

One of the best ways to foster team connection is by ensuring individual goals are connected with company goals.

Each person on the team needs to have a purpose and understand how they fit on the team. As a leader, you’re the one who needs to ensure that happens.

As you work with each team member, look at what they’re individually working on. Once you have that answer, consider how their work can support the other people on your team.

When you have individuals with diverse goals who all contribute to the same things, it’s going to build a sense of team community and cohesion. It’s a great way to ensure team connection is high and everyone is doing their best work.

3. Accept and Act on Team Feedback

For leaders, part of building team commitment means focusing on the thoughts and ideas of your team members. Talk to them about your goal-setting processes and ways to improve communication.

One of the best ways to create team commitment is by listening to feedback. After you have the feedback, you can make changes based on the feedback. When you do this, it helps build more trust between you and the members of your team.

Our Feedback Framework team experience, led by Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, can help your team learn the best ways to give and receive feedback. This can help drive team commitment by improving communication, empathy, and clarity.

Team Commitment and Employee Retention

Something to be aware of when taking on a better sense of team commitment is that there’s a significant lack of trust among modern teams.
Trust has several key benefits for teams, including:

  • More productivity
  • Better conflict resolution
  • Increased innovation, and creativity
  • Improved collaboration

As you work toward building a “true team,” make sure you follow the tips above to make sure everyone is happy and working toward company success.

Building a True Team With Teamraderie

Building team commitment is a journey that requires deliberate planning. Shared virtual team experiences provide an opportunity to:

  • Bring the team members together
  • Inspire them to achieve a common goal
  • Celebrate team successes, and recognize individual contributions

Teamraderie’s 60+ team experiences can foster team connection and commitment, helping you form a true team that succeeds.

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