A 5-Step Method to Strengthen Your Team From the Inside Out

Published: February 9, 2021

Some motivations come from external sources. Power and money are quick examples. They drive decisions and behaviors with enticing promises. Other motivations come from within. Attachment, for instance, provides intrinsic fuel to engage with others. Connection is the most reliable glue that holds teams together. If you are looking for a strategy to strengthen your team, start with an honest appraisal of the quality of each relationship. Here’s a quick 5-step method to enhance what is working and repair what’s not.

Step 1: Take an inventory of the key interpersonal connections that make up the network of your team.

Step 2: Find a piece of paper and a writing utensil and draw a circle representing each person. Arrange those circles in a larger circle so that connection lines can be drawn from every teammate to every other teammate.

Step 3: Increase the boldness of the line connecting the strongest relationships while leaving the weakest connections with the faintest lines.

Step 4: Identify a handful of actions you are committed to taking that will advance the growth of the strong liaisons and repair the causes of the weaker affiliations. Create a timeline for each action.

Step 5: Take note of the multiple triangles in your team connection graphic. Determine who will be impacted by any changes that will ensue as you follow through with your action plan. The ripple-effect touches everyone.

Relationships never operate in isolation. They constantly evolve according to the changing environment of the team’s ecosystem. No one is unaffected. While seeing the growth that your actions generate with a targeted person is satisfying, experiencing the enhancement as a team feeds everyone from the inside out. The decision to improve or repair a connection is a gift to the entire team. So go ahead and get started. Even single actions have far-reaching effects.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.