The NCAA Tournament is over and college basketball fans must survive the long year until the next big tournament they love starts again, myself included. In order to get to the greatest college basketball game of the year, a team can’t rely on just one player.

It takes all 5 players to win a championship. In that regard, a basketball team or any sports team for that matter is much like a work team. There is a manager or coach, but there are individual contributors hopefully all working towards a common goal. Here are some rules to live by when developing and maintaining a strong winning team.

1. Communication

The age old phrase, “open door policy” isn’t always what the phrase implies. In some companies, management isn’t as approachable as they would like to think they are. In order to be an effective team, the “open door policy” needs to be in effect at every level of the organization, depending on the size of course.

Teams need to communicate frustrations, suggestions, struggles, and appreciations. It is much like a family in that a strong team fights constructively and grows to be even stronger. Without clear and candid communication, rumors spread, morale can drop, and employees can feel disengaged with the business.

2. Celebrate victories together

Who doesn’t love a celebration? It’s easy to celebrate your own victories, but it’s more important to celebrate the team goals. When the team wins, everyone wins, the company thrives, and morale remains high. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team, but no one wants to be the one dragging the rest down. By celebrating everyone’s victories and the team’s victories, employees feel a part of a bigger cause and are more likely to remain engaged.

3. Accountability

Accountability is something I’ve personally struggled with early in my career. It was hard for me to admit that I had done something wrong, didn’t know something, or didn’t give 100% to the job. I have learned that admitting to my faults or that I can’t take on more work when I’m slammed. It’s easier to hold a peer accountable to their work, but it is much more difficult to hold yourself accountable and take ownership for your own actions.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still important to hold your teammates accountable. Every member of the team should feel answerable to the rest for the team’s success or failure. By holding yourself accountable first, it makes the team a stronger whole.

4. Clear and candid feedback

On a winning team, members shouldn’t have question where they stand. Candid feedback in real time solves a lot of issues before they even arise. I know I personally like hearing that I’m doing a good job or on the flip side, need to step up my game.

A winning team needs everyone’s buy in and participation. Great communication, constructive feedback, and holding one another accountable are key elements to a winning team. And doesn’t everyone want to be a part of successful, winning team? I know I do.