essential previous learningFormation of Teams

Setting Team Standards

Learn how to build an effective team

Key learning outcomes:

  • Learn that team standards shape the way a team functions and maximises a team’s effectiveness.
  • Develop a process for your team to consult, discuss and decide on standards, including appropriate action when standards are not met.
  • Determine that standards may relate to such areas as meetings, communication, commitments, problem-solving and behaviours.
  • Acknowledge that standards need to be communicated to new team members and reviewed from time to time.


Research consistently confirms that an effective team will always outperform a group of individuals. However, it is important to note that just because you have a group of people working together, this does not automatically make them an effective team. There are a number of key factors that make up an effective team: they need to share a common purpose, results are measured on the collective outputs and leadership is shared. Our article “Working in Teams” outlines the characteristics of an effective team in more detail.

One way a group of people can become an effective team is to create team standards. These are essentially the rules that govern how the team works and behaves. To be effective, the team standards need to be set and agreed to by the team members and not dictated to them by a boss or manager.

When do you set the team standards?

Ideally, team standards should be decided when a team is first formed. Right from the outset, the team should discuss and decide on the rules regarding communication, meetings and behaviour. How often these are reviewed will depend on the length of time the team works together. For example, a team that comes together for a short project may set up the standards and never need to review them. On the other hand, a team that works together over the longer term may choose to review the standards on a regular basis, when new members join the team or as the team grows and matures over time.

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