Essentials of a Healthy Team

What makes a healthy team work? We have no lack of talk and training on this topic. Multiple assessments are available to help discover what each person brings to the team so the right fit can be made. And yet teams still struggle to function in a healthy manner.

Some focus on changes in their work environment in the hope that they will help make a healthy team. Yet with all the training, assessing, and changes to the work environment, too many teams still function in an unhealthy manner. Too often, people are forced to take assessments and training that is meant to make them better team members. And still the team remains dysfunctional.

I will contend that there are three essential, foundational principles necessary for creating a healthy team whether at home, at work or the place where you volunteer your time. For those attempting to create healthy teams, these principles are simply irreplaceable.

I will venture to say, without these three principles all other attempts to create a healthy team will either be short lived or superficial. Let us examine the first of these three principles.


Respect is defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”  Google Dictionary

A healthy team is impossible if there is a lack of respect for other team members. “Respect has become an endangered value over the past few decades. We live in the ‘Age of Irreverence,’ where sarcasm rules the day and everyone loves a good put down.” (Rick Warren) The Bible tells us to “Respect everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17a)

Current workplace research tells us that 66% of disrespected workers said their performance declined, and 87% said they were less committed to the organization. On the other hand, 92% of employees who felt respected by their leader said they were more focused and 89% were happier.

Respect means that we give others the room and freedom to be themselves. We recognize the uniqueness of personalities, gifts and talents. To respect others includes investing in others and helping them to be the best they can be as a person, and in their roles and responsibilities.
To respect another means we will not ridicule or put them down whether in their presence or behind their back.

Respect includes critique that is constructive not destructive. If you cannot offer suggestions for improvement in the area you are critiquing then you are not helping; your criticism will be destructive.

Respect includes the recognition that we all have strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, we will avoid using these to take advantage of others. Rather, acknowledging our humanness, we encourage one another to excel in our strengths and offer support and help in areas of weakness.

Respect does not mean we agree on all things, but we should be able to disagree in a civil manner. In other words, we should be able to still get along even though we disagree. Respect each other’s differences; no two of us are alike.

We should not resort to name-calling or, worse yet, begin to think we are better than the other person because they disagree with us.

Whether at home or at work, a team where members do not respect each other will never be a healthy team.

  • How is the respect factor in your team at work or at home?
  • Have you been contributing to the lack of respect within your team?
  • How can you start making respect one of the foundational principles of your team?

You can assess, train, socialize and collaborate from now to the end of time; but if you lack respect for each other you will not have a healthy team.

Next week we will look at the second foundational principle of a healthy team.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.