There are many essential things for building strong teams. Trust and accountability are critical. Learning to collaborate with others and relate to team members on a personal level is vital. There are also a few other things that can be instrumental in building teams.

1. Create a shared vision

If you want your team members to follow you, you have to get them to believe in the vision. That means you have to talk openly about goals, obstacles, and successes. Get them to dream with you and talk about it!  Have brainstorming sessions where team members are encouraged to dream out loud. Don’t shoot anything down, just go with it during brainstorming! You can decide things are realistic or unrealistic later. Dream big, and do it together!

2. Include everyone

Some people like to fade into the background in a team environment, and they are good at doing so. Don’t let them! Some of your most valuable assets are the thinkers who sit in the back, making observations about everything. Also, don’t always go to the same people over and over to get things done. It will discourage those who aren’t asked, and can burn out those who you depend on too much.

3. Develop your people

When you provide opportunities for team members to expand their skills, two things happen. First, people learn new skills and feel fulfilled.  Second, you get a more competent, skilled team. It’s a win-win!

4. Be a mediator, not a dictator

Conflicts will arise, and that’s ok. Not all conflict is bad, and when you have a team full of passionate, knowledgeable people, that passion will sometimes boil over. It’s not your job to dictate solutions to problems or conflicts, but to help team members reach solutions together. Establish some ground rules for dealing with conflicts early on, and then stick to them.

5. Encourage healthy debate

Brainstorming and debating are two excellent methods of coming up with solutions. During these sessions, don’t monopolize the floor just because you are the leader. In fact, get the ball rolling and then shut up and listen! Ask questions to clarify issues, but let the team members do most of the talking. Be sure that you ask open-ended questions as often as possible, as they provide more opportunity for discussion.

6.    Use praise liberally and publicly, but use criticism privately and sparingly.

This phrase speaks for itself. Being a good leader means that you must praise your team as often and as loudly as possible. Sing their praises when things go well. When things need to be corrected, do that quietly and then move on. Don’t bring up failures over and over–believe me, they haven’t forgotten about them.