Building a Team

Not too long ago my wife and I had the privilege of attending a concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center featuring Chris Botti and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. , I always feel blessed listening to the musicianship Chris Botti brings to his shows; however, what fascinated me this time was his ability to lead his team on the stage.

Not only did he have the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, but he had his band, vocalists who appeared during the show and backstage support staff. Each, (forgive the pun), had to be in harmony so Chris Botti could bring his vision to the symphony hall.

No matter if we are a business of many or a business of one, it is crucial that we understand the principles of building a good team. A team is a group of individuals working together toward a common goal, so whether that is delivering a first-rate concert, solving a client’s challenge or installing a new software system, it is essential that you are clear about what you want to achieve.

For Chris Botti, he built a team out of a diverse group of musicians, some he had known for a long time, others he had just met; some he had hired directly, others the symphony had hired; some knew his vision from the start, others had to learn it.

In business, unless we work for a big corporation, we will need to use outside help to help us achieve our goals. They can be subject matter experts, like accountants, marketing, contractors, bankers, software engineers, and videographers. They can be doers, like virtual assistants, bookkeepers, travel agents, and event planners. They can be our suppliers. They can be our advisors.

Who is on your team? Do they know it?

One of the most critical aspects of leading a team is trust. Watching Chris on the stage, not only did he have a strong rapport with his team, but he also trusted them to do their part. They worked together, as one instrument, Chris letting them excel in playing their role, knowing they would execute it as he expected.

Most relationships fail because the different parties have different expectations; this is especially crucial when working with a team. If your team doesn’t know what is expected of them, they will not be able to deliver what you need. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure we clearly communicate what we expect from our teammates whether they are coworkers, suppliers, or outside experts.

The good news is that once we have communicate our expectations, our teammates are looking for us to hold them accountable. A hallmark of a high performing team is individual accountability, which we enforce not only by our communication but also by our action. During the concert, the band was holding each other accountable to make sure that they delivered an excellent product to the audience.

The four fundamentals factors of a good working team are, trust, accountability, clear expectations and a common goal. No matter if you are business of many or a business of one, use these four fundamental factors to build strong teams.

If you are looking for more information about developing stronger teams, I suggest reading Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: a leadership fable.


John Thalheimer is the Executive Director of True Star Leadership, an UnStuck Business Academy partner, where he works with leaders and human resources professionals to help them achieve their goals through coaching. John has a fundamental belief that all employees and all organizations deserve a great leader. He is dual certified in leadership coaching through the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching and The Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence. He holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and is currently writing a book called The Manager’s Field Guide to Coaching.