Be it your work team or some project team for higher studies, working with other people always carries some liabilities. I remember so many group projects where me and a couple of others were working while the rest were more or less loafing around doing little. Yet, there is no escaping team efforts. In that case, how can you make sure that you have a cooperative team?

Hire/acquire the right people: Making the right team starts right from the time you hire. Do not outsource the hiring process. Only you can find out if a person has the energy and inclination that you are looking for. Also keep in mind whether they are in line with the company goals or vision.


If a team member is performing badly, do not ignore but do not shout. Talk to them separately, just naturally when you are grabbing a coffee together. Find out the reason for the change in their performance levels. Ignoring and firing the person are not the only alternatives. Working with them around the difficulty is also an option.

Assess the internal motivation of the person: While it is good to offer rewards and incentives, it is also important to understand what really motivates the person. Does someone like being the leader? Does another person like giving the final presentation? Does one member like to do a lot of the research? See what motivates each team member and play by their strengths.

Work on loyalty: Celebrate personal life milestones and try to help them outside of work. Being friends is okay as long as everyone is goal-oriented. It makes for a good work environment. So don’t try to be purposely distant and cold. Be approachable instead.


Give recognition: It’s very easy to call out bad behaviour but not congratulate good behaviour as it was ‘supposed’ to be done. Don’t do this. Give recognition when due and give it fairly to ALL team members and not just those you like.

Build trust over time by giving a bit of responsibility that was never given before. This makes the team member feel trusted and he or she gets more involved with the team.


Be true to your words. If you say that you as an organization involve in passion and hardwork, then show it yourself, don’t just expect it from your team mates. Be a role model.

Take group meetings as well as check on everyone individually. The tone of this should not be of suspicion but of curiosity. They should not feel like outsiders.

Define clear roles so that there is no confusion. Similarly form a system of how to find out about updates and deadlines. It should be mutually set, but remember to check in on the set date, or else the deadline won’t be taken as seriously.

Manage social loafing. Some people do not work if they feel the team effort counts and not the individual effort. Manage this by finding out some way to assess and reward individual behaviour as well.


Conflicts: Don’t look at conflicts as deal breakers. It only means that people have differing views about things. Listen to each side patiently, and tentatively suggest a group solution which is open for discussion, instead of partial or dictatorial resolutions.