How to Build a Great Team Culture

As experienced HR specialists, we’re often asked what constitutes a great team culture, and how do we go about building one? As with almost everything that relates to people, the answer is never straightforward. There are however a number of key factors that contribute to establishing a productive and supportive culture.

Lead by example

It might sound trite but leadership from the top is what sets the tone and style for any organisation. If the boss is stressed, disorganised, indecisive and unwilling to listen, chances are the senior or at the team will take their cues from the top, and that’s not a formula for success. Leadership is not about being everyone’s best friend, it is about good communication, clear instructions, constructive feedback, being focussed on results and celebrating the wins. Good leaders are people who are:

  • Good communicators and active listeners
  • Willing to participate not just direct
  • Able to motivate and inspire
  • Remain objective under pressure
  • Decisive – willing to make decisions especially tough ones
  • Accountable, and give credit where it is due.

Build diversity into your team

A common mistake is to only employ people like yourself. This might sound odd but it’s something recruiters often encounter. It happens because people tend to recognise and value abilities that they can relate to as their own. Imagine having a whole team of leaders and no collaborators; nothing much would get done. Equally if there is no one to lead and motivate, it’s almost impossible to keep people on track and focused. The trick is to bring together a group pf people with complimentary skillsets and diverse perspectives, who can be motivated to work collaboratively toward a shared outcome.

Desirable characteristics

Research and experience tells us that to create a positive culture, we need people who communicate well with each other. Good communicators are open with each other, share their thoughts, opinions and ideas with members of the team, actively listen and take account of what others have to say.

Team players focus on goals and results. They’re outcomes based, and willing to work together to achieve objectives and value everyone’s contribution equally. Great teams thrive on cooperation in an environment where people are supportive of others when they need a helping hand. Collaborative teams are most often happier and more productive.

Respectful of diversity – understanding that each person has a different part to play and valuing every contribution is the basis of a great team culture.

Good leadership – every team needs a captain to keep it on course. A good leader is strategic, has a clear vision of the objectives and is able to motivate people to do their best.
Socialise – Getting together socially to celebrate successes or debrief when times are tough builds bonds. Building positive relationships between colleagues can create a much more relaxed environment and reduce conflict.

Partnering with Cornerstone

Our mission is to assist you to bring out the best in your people. We offer state wide HR assessments and training, helping employers to build work cultures that are productive, respectful, and inclusive. To partner with Cornerstone, call us on 08 6150 0043 or email