Best Practices for Fostering a Great Team Culture

By Daniela Villegas | June 19, 2018, 1:54 p.m. (ET)

What makes a great team? There’s no one answer for this question. However, what makes a team successful is if they have a great team culture. It is well known that team culture directly impacts how a team functions and performs. The culture of a team is the expression of its attitudes, values and goals. The goal is to have a team culture that develops individual and team growth, fun and success in a nurturing manner. How can your triathlon team accomplish that? Here are a few guiding tips that can help you get there. 

  1. Establish Team Practices: No, I do not mean your normal training workouts. What I am referring to is creating team habits or rituals. For example, a great way to keep every member on a team feeling involved is hosting a team pre-race dinner or after-group training meals or stretching sessions.
  2. Give Back to Your Community: Already have an amazing group of people of your team? Introduce yourself to your community. Let them know who you are and get involved by volunteering as a group for a park clean up, tree planting or other community event. Volunteering is a great way promote a positive team culture and also have the added benefit of giving back to the local communities where you live and train as a team.
  3. Get Social: Break the routine of training every once and a while with a team social event. Monthly or quarterly team social gatherings are a great way to keep the good vibes going for your team. Social events can be a range of activities, like group paddle boarding, movie nights, concerts, team potlucks, scavenger hunts, cooking classes, trivia nights, etc. The list doesn’t end. Ask your team and gauge their interest in what they may want to participate in so that you can find an activity that works for everyone and get together.
  4. Communication: Communicate clearly and frequently with your team. Whether it’s an upcoming team race event or new team training location, keep everyone posted. Let your team know what’s new and what’s going on.
  5. Celebrate Each Other: Share in all the small things both in and out of practice. Whether it’s a team member conquering their first open water swim or maybe another who recently got a promotion, celebrate everyone on your team. Celebrating each of your team members successes both individually and as a group contributes to building a great team culture and environment. 

Why does it matter? If you have a great team culture your team more likely to be successful long term. Triathlon training is already challenging enough, but being a part of a great team helps make it manageable and even quite fun. Keeping these tips in mind can help you and your team get there. The key is to align your values, goals, and attitudes to foster the most positive and nurturing team culture. 

Daniela Villegas is a USA Triathlon Certified Coach. She is the assistant coach for Triathlon Training Team based in Long Beach, California.