Are you experiencing any of these challenges?
- Confusion about assignments, accountability, and unclear working relationship
- Evidence of conflicts and lack of trust among staff members
- Loss of productivity and missed deadlines
- Increase of grievances and complaints (especially from customers)
- Apathy and loss of commitment among staff
- Agreements misunderstood and thwarted
- Ineffective staff meetings – lack of cooperation, and exchanged looks among staff members, furtively
- High degree of dependency upon a particular manager/supervisor and/or negative reaction from others
- Slow start-up of a new team
- Loss of initiative, innovation, and lack of creative problem solving
What is team building? Team building is an ongoing process, not a one – time event. It is seeking to understand the effects of working relationships of a team towards a clear goal or mission.. Sometimes it is quite natural – as in a sports team wanting to win, or a military combat unit that fights together and protects each other. Differences of opinions, values, backgrounds don’t matter. They clearly understand the objective. In the work world, team building can be decidedly more difficult. This is why organizations take time and spend money to build stronger teams, improve efficiencies, save money, keep top performers, and fulfill the mission.
Types of teams:
- Teams that make decisions e.g. policy making, Boards of Directors
- Task directed teams – producing a product or service
- Self directed teams – functioning independently
Types of team building activities:
- Well run staff meetings – where a manager/supervisor models the standard for solid working relationships, communicates well, fosters trust, encourages transparency.
- Half-day meetings where a team looks at its strengths and weaknesses by collecting data from the participants. This process is usually facilitated by an outside consultant in order to encourage truthfulness and ensure confidentiality.
- Later this collected data becomes an assessment instrument (drafted by a professional consultant) whereby the team can periodically review how they are doing against the norms, and/or revise the list according to new findings. This method is probably the ideal way to ensure relevancy, accuracy, and commitment to the process.
- Retreats – where a day or two Is devoted to individual assessments as they pertain to working as a team member ( e.g., the MBTI). The working relationships are illuminated through the assessment instrument. Participants come to recognize, respect, and understand the various styles so that tolerance and support of each other is easier.
Types of assessment instruments There are many off-the-shelf assessment tools available in addition to those designed specifically to the goals, values, and issues of a specific organization. It is important to define the objectives of the assessment as it relates to goals of the team building sessions.
Consistency of team building It is important to be consistent with the effort to build a strong team. Once employees start to work together better, they expect the commitment and fervor to continue. Sustaining the momentum by revisiting the subject routinely gives a comfort level to all involved. And it is the responsibility of the manager/supervisor to routinely (say quarterly or every six months) ask employees if they want to revisit their efforts as a team. They must not take things for granted.
Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org