3 Keys to Great Team Building

Are you team building with trust, collaboration and diversity?


How can leaders build great teams—not just in the short-term, but for the long haul? Begin great team building by consistently measuring the level of trust within your team, says Lindsay van Zyl, vice president of marketing and digital at Catalyst.

In this video, Lindsay shares three key elements to successful, sustainable team building. Her leadership approach to team building includes: modeling trust, encouraging collaboration and embracing diversity. Learn the importance of these key elements that lay the foundation for effective employee engagement and highly successful teams.

As I have led my team, as I've grown as a leader, I've learned a lot about myself. Of course, I've learned a lot about what makes a good team, what are the key characteristics that make a good team, and I believe that there's three things that held true as I've, you know, watched team members come and go. And I think that those three things are trust, collaboration, and diversity.

I just am not convinced that there is any team out there with distrust in their midst that's operating at 100% full capacity. Are they getting projects done? Probably. Are they producing things and accomplishing goals? Maybe. But is it long lasting? Is it sustainable for the long haul? I really doubt it.

I think there's something so key about having a team that trust each other, that trust the systems and the processes that they're working within. And something I've learned, probably the hard way, is that trust isn't actually permanent. You might have it in the beginning from a team member, but I think it's really a healthy thing to check in with your team on these things, because the ebbs and flows of business and projects, I think that trust can be kind of lost and gained. So it's something I really strive to keep at the forefront of my leadership and within my team. Do we trust each other? Do they trust me? Can I trust them? And that really just helps us operate I think at full capacity.

I would say collaboration is also huge, and trust feeds into collaboration. I want to create an atmosphere for my team where they can collaborate. They can receive feedback. They can receive constructive criticism without feeling threatened. I want people to be able to hear feedback from a project they're working on or from a department that they're owning and be able to say, "Oh, you know what, that's a great idea. I've never thought of it that way," without feeling like that threatens them or takes them away from the idea table. And I want people to know that they don't just have one shot at a good idea. You know, if we don't take up your idea, I don't want them to feel then that they can't bring a new idea when there's another opportunity.

So I really fight for that within my team. We're highly collaborative. Everyone knows they have the freedom, really, to speak into each other's work, and we talk about doing that honorably. And then they also have the freedom to tell me and give me feedback, and so we just kind of keep an open door policy with that. And then diversity is probably, honestly, the hardest thing for me that I've had to allow on my team, because as a leader, it's so easy to hire people just like you. You know, they're the easiest people to relate to. They're the easiest people to understand. They're the easiest people to read and therefore the easiest people to lead. But if I hire a team of mes, you know, we grow stale very quickly, and so I really fight to have people from diverse backgrounds with diverse strengths, with different perspectives. It has added such a health to our team, and we have a lot of those conversations where, "You know, I've never thought of it that way before," or, "I would have never caught that," or, "That's really cool and innovative."

So I would say trust, collaboration, diversity have been key characteristics for building a good team. That's what I found.

Lindsay van Zyl

Lindsay van Zyl is vice president of marketing and digital at Catalyst, a leadership development organization that exists to unify and equip ministry leaders through resources and experiential events. She leads a talented team of pass...

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