Purpose: This paper outlines a team building intervention designed to create more cohesive student teams in preparation for team-based projects. Originality: The intervention was piloted during a team training session as part of a generic skills project (Vu, Rigby & Mather, 2011). The primary mechanism involved structuring early-stage student and group level affective processes in order to create psychological safety and motivational investment. Key literature: The paper outlines theories of team and group development that guide the leader-facilitator role. According to Millward, Banks and Riga’s (2010) generative model of self regulating teamwork, once structural conditions are in place then team formation relies on the emergence of team psychological states based on members’ affective identification. Approach: In this instance, the presenter adopted the dual roles of team leader and group facilitator of the newly forming student teams. Practical and social implications: Building student teams prior to team projects is a useful intervention with rippling effects. Students who engage in positive team experiences are more likely to apply their learning in new academic and employment contexts.