This little company called Google went out and spent millions of dollars on a mega-study to figure out what separates high performing teams from dysfunctional sad ones. They called it Project Aristotle because any meaningful project needs to be named after a Greek philosopher apparently.
We’ll save you a few million bucks and get to the point: it turns out that trust and respect for your teammates, along with working on fulfilling work, outstripped all other factors like free lunches and ball pits to the point they’re just a rounding error.
People do great work together when they feel psychologically safe. They can’t come in each day worried they’re going to get screamed at or canned unexpectedly. Do whatever you have to do to make it so everyone knows the score in a quiet, calm way.
This means making your expectations clear, simple, and widely communicated. The goalpost should not be a secret.
This also pertains to tough things like letting people go. If someone needs to be let go from the team it should be apparent to both parties for weeks, if not months, in advance.
There are no internal surprises on a healthy team.