Five Questions To Ask To Build A Highly Successful Team

Recently, I released a three-part tip series on how to build a highly successful work environment; as a bonus tip for that series, I've decided to discuss some questions that will help you build a diverse group of people into a unified team. If you missed any of the tip series, Click Here to Read Them!


Now, this tip is not a tip just for team leaders but for team members, fundraisers, leaders, managers—anyone who is contributing to building a team and serving on a team. These are questions to ask yourself when building and strengthening your team. These are questions to consider for your career and the careers of those with whom you work.

1: Am I building people or am I building my empire? Or, even worse, am I using people to achieve my own goals? When talking about building people, I like to think and talk about impact. What impact does the individual have on the organization? On fundraising? On the people we serve? Impact motivates people to do their best work to change and save lives.

2: Do I confront? I discuss accountability all the time. It’s important to hold people accountable. However, when holding people to account, we also must confront those who are not doing their best work, requiring them to do more or to do better. This must be done in a way that shows we care. It must be done whenever necessary. 

3: Do I listen? Why is it important to listen? I want to know the team member’s thoughts, ambitions, goals, their vision for their path forward, the value they see in their work, and the value they want to receive from their work, as well as their needs. To understand all this, I need to listen to more than just their words. I need to listen to their attitudes and their actions. I should observe what they do well and what needs improvement. Leaders and team members all need to listen and observe well. 

4: Am I building respectful and caring relationships? To successfully work together, we need to respect each other. We need to ask the right questions to understand a person’s makeup. We need to know their strengths and their struggles. As I mentioned in a previous Tip, this is what we need to know to help complete other—to help everyone be their best selves. This is a result of effective listening and a desire to build respectful and caring relationships.

Furthermore, do I respect their job and place a high priority on it? One of my first jobs was at a restaurant. Bill was the dishwasher. I can still see Bill in my mind—he made such an impression on me. He worked for at least 30 years as the dishwasher at that restaurant. He showed up every day and did his job—every day. Do you want to foul up the profits of a restaurant? Serve food on dirty dishes! Everyone respected Bill because he did his job. Do you have respect and care for those who “wash the dishes” at your organization?

5: Are their goals compatible with mine and the team’s goals? I work to understand each individual’s personal and professional goals to seek alignment of their goals with the team’s goals, and the goals for our fundraising shop, and our organization.

In fact, I count as one of my greatest accomplishments the success of those who have worked with me—the many first time fundraisers we hired, the administrative staff members—now college presidents, nonprofit CEOs, ministers and faith leaders, and leaders of mega-fundraising operations. All that comes from building people, caring enough to confront and help people improve, listening, building respectful and caring relationships, and seeking alignment of their goals and your nonprofit’s goals.

So, if you want to work on a team in a highly successful work environment, then remember: 

  • Leaders empower.
  • Employees are straightforward.
  • Teams work together to forward the talents of all toward the accomplishment of a shared goal.
  • Ask the questions from this tip to make sure your team is succeeding.

As always, your thoughts are always welcome. Thx ben


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