Building and maintaining a strong team is every manager’s top priority. And while some aspects of success have to be left up to fate, there are numerous factors that fall within your control. So here are 5 things you can do to build a successful team.

1. Encourage good communication

We stress good communication a lot around here, but that’s because it’s such a pivotal part of every team. Whether you run a small business with your wife or are a part of a large corporation with hundreds of employees, your success as a business relies on effective communication. This means listening to team members, clarifying when things aren’t clear, and keeping conversations respectful.

2. Be proactive

Don’t wait for things to go wrong, encourage your team to brainstorm what challenges may lie ahead and come up with solutions ahead of time. Also, there’s no need to wait for team members to come to you with concerns. Check in regularly. Find out what has been working and what hasn’t. Ask how projects are going, find out if there are any work flow improvements that need to be made. When you make yourself available and approachable, this makes your entire team stronger.

3. Be sensitive and understanding

Sometimes things seem a bit off. You may notice a personality change or withdrawal in a co-worker. Don’t ignore these observations, write them down somewhere and come alongside team members who seem to be struggling. You never know what someone is going through in their personal life and how it is affecting their performance. Try to be be patient when mistakes are made or tempers flare, and take time to address what is wrong in a positive and professional way. Showing you care goes a long way.

4. Be clear

Your team cannot read your mind. Give them clear expectations from the start. You want to teach each person to be self-motivating and intuitive, but an occasional reminder of what you want along the way can be helpful, especially during busy seasons. Be sure to assign tasks according to the strengths of each individual. There will be plenty of opportunities to give small challenges along the way to foster growth. Your team will work best if each person is doing something they are naturally good at.

5. Reward hard work

After a particularly taxing week of work, an employer encouraged her staff to take a day off. It wasn’t a holiday, she didn’t count it as one of their vacation days. But the entire group had been exerting a lot of creative energy, and she didn’t want them to get burnt out. (Burn out has a negative effect on performance and results.) Her employees not only appreciated and benefited from the break, but had even more incentive to work when they returned. At the end of the day, unexpected rewards such as this promote hard work and contribute to the success of a team.