The Team within the Team

Published: August 3, 2015

As complicated as team dynamics can be, effective teamwork usually begins with simple relationship wellness. Teams are built on a foundation of interpersonal interaction. Communication is the action that multiplies the energy of the group. The health of the team is dependent on the quality of the exchange between its members. While some teams devote valuable time to the politics that often resemble the cliques in a high school cafeteria, other teams opt for clear, adult, mature, and productive give-and-take. Consider these seven drivers of constructive relationships:

Civility: The way we choose to treat each other, especially under stress, creates the platform for future sharing.

Clarity: Although there may be many paths to the same destination, our common goal should be clear.

Contrast: Our differences in perspective, while uncomfortable, will eventually fuel innovation.

Responsibility: Trust is strengthened when we do what we say we’re going to do.

Risk: Amazing things occur when the environment is safe for experimentation.

Relinquishing: Remain graceful during the losses and disappointments that are woven into the fabric of all relationships.

Refocusing: The most energizing aspect of change is embracing the new circumstances that follow.

Rehearse relationship skills on a daily basis at work, home, and play. How you treat your colleagues, family, and friends drives the wellness of your teams. The team within the team begins with you.

Steve Ritter is the Founder & CEO of the Team Clock Institute and the Managing Director of the Midwest Institute & Center for Workplace Innovation. You can learn more about executive coaching opportunities at

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 University 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.