So, what’s the secret sauce that makes teams successful? Very few managers/ team leaders argue that an effective team is quite paramount, however, not all of them can articulate how those successful teams got that way.  

There’s no denying that there are many elements with the power to impact, and potentially derail a team. The organizational culture a team works under can change a team’s dynamics, as can managerial style, or workload and resource distribution.  But when looking internally at the team itself, what factors should good leaders account for that will set their teams up for success? 


Good leadership is everything when it comes to team success. To build a strong team,  one must possess good leadership skills that ensure members are inspired, motivated and challenged. 


The ability to identify and regulate one’s emotions and understand the emotions the others is a key ingredient of having a successful team. A high EQ helps build relationships, reduce team stress, defuse conflict, increase team productivity and improve job satisfaction.  


When it comes to team success, the most important soft skills one should possess include, team management, professionalism, conflict resolution, communication skills,  listening skills, problem-solving skills, etc. These skills are key as hey help identify the strengths, weaknesses and needs within a team. 



  1. Think of your very best mentor, teacher, boss, co-worker, coach, etc. How did this person make you feel? What is your level of relaxation at the idea of  working with this person? 
  2. Think of your most challenging mentor, teacher, boss, co-worker, coach, etc.  How did this person make you feel? What is your level of relaxation at the idea  of working with this person? 
  3. Have you ever; 

∙ Known the answer to a problem but felt afraid to say anything?

 Presentation notes   

∙ Found yourself in hot water for the challenging the way “we do things”? ∙ Been ridiculed in front of team members? 

∙ Did not ask a question for fear of looking stupid 

∙ Been negatively stereotyped? 

∙ Had a team member(s) make you feel like you don’t belong? 

How did all these things make you feel? 

How you “show up” affects the way people FEEL …and how they FEEL affects  HOW they engage with you…and that impacts everything about the outcome  of that relationship 


∙ Develop your inspiring and strategic leadership 

∙ Recruit the right people for your team 

∙ Build your engaged and powerful team 


Bring to mind someone who made you feel psychologically SAFE. Write their initials at the top of your page. 

To create a psychologically safe space for others;  

  1. Ask others for feedback on their behaviour 
  2. Accurately view situations from others’ perspective 
  3. Encourage others to express themselves 


Psychological Safety is what you experience when you’re confident those around you will demonstrate emotionally intelligent behaviour. 

It is; 

∙ A belief held by members of a team that it is safe for interpersonal risk-taking 

∙ A sense of confidence that speaking up will not result in rejection,  embarrassment or punishment  

∙ A team environment of respect and interpersonal trust where people feel comfortable being themselves. 

It is not; 

∙ About everyone being a nice guy 

∙ Sacrificing standards for the  sake and peace

∙ Accepting all ideas as equally valuable for the sake of team harmony

How to create a psychologically safe workplace; 

  1. Assess how each team member needs their colleagues to show up to them 2. Identify ways to improve impact on team members  
  2. Equip team members with practical EI skills (training sessions)  


Interpersonal risk is the risk that people might not think well of you or the risk of rejection and humiliation.  

Someone with interpersonal risk issues has a lot of Ifs; 

  • If you ask a question you could be viewed as ignorant. 
  • If you make a mistake you might be seen as incompetent 
  • If you question “the way we do things” it could be seen as being negative • If you ask for feedback it could be considered intrusive 

Good leadership can however lessen this risk and make staff/team members more likely to fully participate in the teaming process and less afraid of making a mistake or being rejected.


Derek Bbanga is a Regional Director with the Alpha Group where he helps SME  owners solve difficult challenges, evaluate opportunities and develop effective  strategies for better professional and business performance 

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