BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE TEAM IS HARD WORK. To begin, you have to select the right people to be on the team. This involves finding high-performing, engaged employees with the right skills to do the job. Once you have completed this difficult task, you have to handle the even more difficult task of establishing how work in the team will be done and how communication will flow. It’s still not over after that! Now, you have the headache of dealing with the conflicts that are almost certain to arise. Talk about hard work!

It’s discouraging to add even more to this already overflowing plate, but before any of the actual work can begin, you have to earn the buy-in of your team members. Buy-in is earning the support and dedication of your team members. It is a fancy way of saying everyone is on board. You need buy-in from everyone and you need to earn it early. Otherwise, you run the risk that your team members will approach their work with half-hearted enthusiasm and, in turn, produce subpar work. Team members with buy-in understand why the team’s work is important, and they are more likely to do the work enthusiastically and at a high-quality level.

This buy-in does not just appear magically when you form your team. It has to be earned. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to make it happen:

1. Make sure the resources the team needs to succeed are in place. There are few things worse than being told to accomplish a task without the money, time, or other necessary support to do it. Your team may be full of high performers, but they are not supermen or superwomen. Make sure that the money and administrative support your team needs to work is ready to go. It is also important to make sure that the team has a realistic time frame to complete their work. Be realistic about setting project deliverable dates so that your team does not feel the need to rush through important tasks.

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2. Tie team goals to company goals. If your team members are passionate about the work that your company does, that does not automatically mean that passion will transfer over to each team project. Sometimes, the day-to-day grind can leave employees jaded. Remind your team members on a regular basis of how this project helps the company achieve its larger goals.

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3. Make it clear to employees how they will benefit from achieving the team’s goals. Even if your team members are passionate about the company’s goals, they will still have goals for their own professional development. Share with individual team members how this project can help them advance professionally. These reasons can include the chance to meet influential people, learn new skills, or travel to somewhere new. Employees are more likely to be highly engaged in team projects when there is a way for them to develop professionally.

There are many hurdles to cross in team building, but gaining buy-in from each member of your team is crossing one of the biggest hurdles. A team that is committed to the work they are doing will be engaged, dedicated, and produce high-quality work. What more could you ask for?


Marcus van Wyk.

Founder, Power Assessments International