Creating a winning team culture

When you think back fondly to a great workplace, what was it about that company that made it so good? One of the main reasons people cite is the strength of the team culture. It can make – or break – a person, division and business, but there are some simple and pragmatic ways to ensure that team culture is a priority in your business. Place a focus on the following areas and you could have a high performing team in no time.

Adaptable Environment

Work-life balance has always been important to us in New Zealand and since Covid disrupted many workplaces, the desire for flexible working has grown. After all, we’ve shown just how productive we can be when we have time to drop the kids at school or work from home when they’re sick. Interactive tools and video conferencing now mean that we still interact well with our colleagues and in many cases, we communicate and check in more frequently to ensure that team culture and comradery is still maintained.

Feeling valued

Recognition from leaders and peers is an incredibly powerful tool that costs you nothing. A culture where people express gratitude and acknowledge the good work of their colleagues is a sign of a positive team. There is now even a ‘praise’ button in Microsoft Teams which makes giving a virtual 'high-five' easier than ever.

Safe to speak up

Feeling able to share our thoughts and speak our opinions is incredibly important to feeling psychologically safe at work, especially when it comes to admitting vulnerability or to share new ideas without fear of them being ridiculed or dismissed. An encouraging environment where people’s thoughts are listened to and respected contribute to a strong sense of team cohesion.

Opportunities to grow and develop

We’re programmed as human beings to learn throughout our lives and in the workplace that includes learning new technical skills or how to better manage relationships and resilience. When you create a culture of continuous improvement, this thirst to learn becomes a core part of your working culture. It can be as simple as lunchtime sessions where team members talk about something they’ve learned, an eLearning programme or providing budget for people to attend external courses or conferences. You might also want to put in place succession planning where people are given the opportunity to start on the path to career progression within the organisation.


Of course, leaders are there to guide their teams, but managing the fine line between being supportive and the dreaded micro-management can be difficult, especially when managers are being treated in a similar way by their leaders. But letting your team work independently or allowing them to put their hand up for new projects that they are passionate about is often the one thing you can do that will see your people work at their best. You’ll soon see the benefits of happier team members, increased productivity and an overall happier workplace.

Finally, if a company gets the above right, team members will come away feeling that their workplace puts their people first, as by looking after them as individuals and teams, you’re creating a positive sense of solidarity, shared goals and commitment to each other. What this does is elevate your workplace to operating as a community, a level at which all successful organisations have aspired to and actively worked to create. Supportive people who are given the freedom to offer their ideas, grow and learn, and most importantly have the mandate to operate autonomously results in a team culture that all of us want to be a part of.

Author: Peter Robinson
Team Leadership Services