Many leaders who are looking to increase overall productivity at their company are implementing collaborative team environments. This growing trend is backed up by a recent study that states collaborative work environments lead to an increase in overall profitability.

However, teams are only effective if built correctly. Don’t expect a group of employees to work well together if you throw them in a room without cultivating any sort of trust or team building. Building a highly effective team requires devotion, time and planning, but knowing where to begin can be daunting. Here are five steps to help you get started: 

Establish team roles

One of the first things to do when building a team is to create a roles document. This type of document outlines the roles and responsibilities of each member and provides a foundation of accountability. Taking this first step will lead to less confusion about who is responsible for what later on. Once the roles and responsibilities are agreed upon by every member you can begin to develop initial ground rules.

Develop a set of ground rules

It’s important for every team member to understand how the team plans to operate and developing a set of ground rules is the easiest way to achieve this. Examples of rules to include could be how to organize projects, set deadlines, or even communicate effectively with other team members. Having ground rules in place allows teams to acknowledge any potential problems and address them before they become a serious issue in the future. It's vitally important that all team members are present during this process because everyone should be able to provide input and also needs to agree with the final set of rules.

Encourage team building

Team building is an essential component to creating an effective team. For a team to be truly successful there has to be a foundation built on trust, which can be established through team building exercises. It’s commonly known that trust is important in any and every team, especially when you consider that 97 percent of employees believe that a lack of alignment or connection with their team directly impacts the outcome of a project. Planning events outside of the office like social gatherings, volunteer activities, and strategic team-building exercises will help build trust and connection between team members.

Provide leadership

An executive’s leadership style sets the overall tone for the team, so providing effective leadership is key. In order to ensure effective leadership is present from the start, executives should be sure to appoint leaders who possess skills and personality traits such as flexibility, empathy, and reliability. Another vital aspect of quality leadership is a relationship centered around trust. When team members trust their leaders, more efficient, high quality work is produced regardless if the manager is present every step of the way.

Create an open environment

The final step in building an effective team is to create an open environment. Having an open environment is important because team members need to feel comfortable enough to voice what is on their mind. If employees are uncomfortable sharing their ideas, collaboration and trust will be nonexistent. Building an environment where everyone can share ideas without fear of judgment will allow collaboration and productivity to flourish.

It's important to put in the time and effort to build an effective team because it will lead to increased productivity and collaboration. However, if you follow these five steps you will be well on your way to achieving this goal.