4 Core Elements to Winning Teams

Winning teams win because several core elements are at play within the team. If a leader wants a team to consistently win the requirement is to have those core elements. 4 of those core elements include: trust, synergy, collaboration, and a mutual standard. Let’s look at each of those elements so we can learn how to add them to the teams we lead or are on.

winning teams


Trust is at the center of winning teams. Trust takes time to build and has to be maintained by guarding against anything that can break it. Mutual trust between team members is like super glue that binds a team tightly together. When a team can rely and count on each other’s character, actions, attitudes, and motives they will be in a position to achieve great accomplishment. Author Patrick Lencioni said this about a team, which represents a team that completely trusts each other, “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.” Be a trustworthy person and loan out your trust to others. When teams do this they can expect to see an increase of productivity, engagement levels, and higher levels of results.


The word synergy is defined as, “the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements.” Synergetic teams are full of skilled, experienced, and talented individuals. The combined team members cause a consistent explosion of business growth. Core responsibilities of a team leader include: to recruit and properly place top talent in the right places on the team, create a culture of personal growth and learning, and manage the team so they productively produce high levels of results. These core elements cause the team to be synergized. Be a person who positively adds to the team.


Legendary baseball player Babe Ruth said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Winning teams are able to work together with a common purpose and goals in mind. No one individual is trying to pave a new path that is not aligned with the overall goals of the organization. However, each member of the team is doing their part to advance toward the overall vision and goals of the organization. One way to build collaboration is to spend time together so each team member can connect with and learn about the other team members. Helen Keller wisely said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Do your part to build friendships with your co-workers and always contribute your best to the team.

A Mutual Standard

In my book The Leadership Mandate (Which is available to purchase as a Kindle version or audio book) I wrote about two foundational principles when it comes to producing results, individually. Those two include:

“The first is to have a standard of excellence, in all areas of your life. It’s about doing and giving your best in the areas of your direct responsibilities and obligations.” And “The second is about exceeding expectations, in every area of your life and work. This starts when you maintain a high standard of excellence and do more than what is required or asked.”

When it comes to winning teams, each individual has adapted these two principles into their life. They have a high standard of excellence and go above and beyond what is required of them. Be a person who is committed to having a high standard.

Questions: Can you add to the list, what other core elements do winning teams have? Which of these 4 elements do you need to adapt to the team you lead or are on?

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18 thoughts on “4 Core Elements to Winning Teams

  1. Great post, Dan

    Under collaboration, you talked about spending time together. Spending time is what strengthens the trust. I think this is especially critical if you have a team spanning multiple generations – which by nature, there is already a lack of communication and trust between the two groups.

    • Hello Bill,

      Great thoughts. That’s why spending time doing a variety of activities is so important. It can allow for multiple generations to connect and learn about each other. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  2. There certainly is a lot of information in this post. Each of the four elements discussed could be a post all on its own. They are all crucial to the successful functioning of a team. Tying them together is communication. Without communication, I’m not sure any of these could happen with much success, at least not long term.

  3. Timely post. I have a person that is lacking in the trust and standard areas. Those type of people have a way of working themselves to the outside of the circle naturally…

  4. This is probably part of synergy, but winning teams tend to have a certain chemistry. Consisting of all the personality types, they mesh well together and allow each individual to bring their strengths to the table.

  5. Really love the points about trust and having a standard of excellence in particular. They really speak to the importance of building a culture, rather than just assembling parts and expecting them to work well together.

  6. Great list, Dan, and all very needed on a team. The only thing I would add is an understanding of one’s responsibilities and expectations on the team. I’ve seen in leadership positions I’ve held how often we aren’t told the expectations others hold for the position, which makes it difficult to really contribute.

  7. Great list. You covered it really well.
    Knowing WHY a team is doing something is vital to it operating at full capacity. A team must understand the goals in order to work together.