Team Building Tips & Strategies
Employees continuously speak about working as a team, building the team, refer to the team as “my team”, yet a few of them truly understand how they can create the real experience of teamwork or how they can help to develop an effective team. The sense of being a part of a team is the outcome of feeling a part of something which is larger than you. It depicts your understanding of the objectives and mission of your organisation.
In a team environment, you as an individual contribute towards the overall success of the organisation. You work collaboratively with fellow team members to produce these results. You may have a different job role, and you may belong to a specific department, but you are still working in tandem with other organisation members to achieve the overall objectives of the organisation. In other words, you are driven by the bigger picture, and your particular job function contributes towards the bigger picture.
The overall sense of teamwork needs to be kept separate from the task of developing an effective and collaborative team which is formulated to accomplish a particular goal. Since people tend to confuse these two team building objectives, a lot of meetings, seminars, activities, and retreats are considered to be failures by the participants. There is a difference in developing an overall sense of teamwork and building an effective team.
Tips for Team Building
Managers, executives, and organisation staff members explore various ways to improve profitability and business results. A lot of people consider horizontal, team-based organisational structures as the best design to involve all the employees to contribute towards the success of the business. A successful team building initiative is one which creates focused and productive work team and pays attention to the following tips or somewhat introspective questions which can pave the way for building a great team:
- Conveying Expectations Clearly – Check if the executive leadership has clearly communicated its expectations from the team regarding expected outcomes and the expected performance from the team. You should verify if the team members are aware as to why this team was created. Check if your organisation is displaying the sense of purpose by supporting the team with time, money, and resources. You need to observe if the work of the team receives due priority during discussions regarding time, interest, and attention from the executive leaders.
- Building the Context – Check if your team members understand why they are a part of this team. Try and understand if your team understands how the strategy of using teams is going to help the organisation to achieve its business goals. Are your team members able to define the importance of the team regarding accomplishing the set organisational goals? Check if your team understands how its contribution regarding work fits in the overall context of the organisational principles, goals, values, and vision.
- Conveying the Significance of Commitment – You must check if your team members are keen to participate in the team. Try and get a feel if your team members realise the importance of the team’s mission. Do you feel your team members are committed to achieving the team’s mission and expected outcomes? You should get a sense of overall feeling regarding your team members perceiving their service as valuable to the organisation and also regarding their career growth. Check if your team members are anticipating recognition for their contributions. Check the expectations of your team members regarding the growth and development of their skills. Ask your team members if they are challenged and excited by the team opportunity that has been provided to them.
- Keeping a Check on the Team’s Competence – Check with your team if it feels that it has the appropriate number of people participating. You should also check if your team feels that its members have the relevant skill, knowledge, and capabilities to address the issues for which the team was formulated. If they do not have the same, then figure out if they have access to the relevant channel to help them with fulfilling these needs. Ask your team if it feels it has all the appropriate strategies, resources, and the support that it needs to achieve its mission.
- Checking the Team’s Strategy – Figure out if your team has assumed its assigned area of responsibility and planned and designed its vision, mission, and strategies to accomplish the mission. You should check if the team has clearly defined and communicated its goals, its contributions, timelines, anticipated outcomes, and the means to measure the outcome of the work as well as the process that the team followed to accomplish their task. Is the leadership team supporting the team’s plan and strategies?
- Checking Your Team’s Sense of Control – Check if your team has enough freedom to feel a sense of ownership which is important to achieve its plan of action. You should also check if your team members have a clear understanding of their limitations or boundaries regarding their pursuit of solutions. Verify if these limitations were defined in their strategy at the start of the project. Check if all the team members are aware of the reporting structure and their accountability. Check if they have a defined review process in place so that both the organisation and the team are aligned in the same direction. You should also check if the team members hold each other accountable regarding meeting commitments, project timelines, and expected results. You should also check if the organisation has a place in place to increase opportunities for self-management for the team members.
- Checking the Level of Collaboration within the Team – You need to check if your team understands the team and the group processes in place. Do you see the team members working together effectively? Check if all the team members understand their roles and responsibilities. How good is your team in problem-solving, goal setting, and process improvement? Verify if the team has set rules for themselves regarding decision making, conflict resolution, and meeting management. You should also check if the team is utilising an appropriate strategy to accomplish its plan of action.
- Checking the Level of Clarity of Communication within the Team – You need to check first of all if your team members are clear regarding the priority of their tasks. Figure out of there is a proper method for the teams to give and receive honest feedback about performance. It is very important to make a note if the organisation is sharing business updates and information regularly with the team. Observe if the team members communicate in a clear and honest manner with one another. Do you see your team members bringing diverse opinions to the discussion table? Observe if the necessary conflicts are raised and addressed appropriately.
- Promoting Scope for Innovation – Do you feel that the organisation is keen for change? Does your organisation value creative thinking individuals, new and innovative ideas and solutions? Are people appropriately recognized for taking reasonable risks and making improvements in solutions? Make a note if your organisation provides the necessary education, training, field trips, and even access to films and books which are necessary to stimulate innovation.
- Checking the Sense of Accountability and Responsibility within the Team – Make a note if your team members feel accountable and responsible for the achievements of the team. Do you see your team members being amply recognised and rewarded in the event of a team’s success? Is there an atmosphere in your team where they spend time in pointing fingers at one another instead of looking for solutions together? Is there a mechanism in your organisation for recognising both team and individual efforts? Are there any plans at the organisational level to share gains and increased profitability with its employees?
- Checking the Level of Coordination within the Team – Is there a central leadership team in place in your organisation which assists the individual teams to get what they need for success? Do you see a sense of understanding within the team regarding comprehending the product, service, process, as well as the concept of an internal customer? Do you think that your teams are cross-functional and teams from various departments come and work together collaboratively when required? Is your organisation promoting a customer-focused process and weaning away from the traditional departmental mode of operation and thinking?
- Keeping track of the Organisation Culture Change – Do you feel that your organisation recognises that team-based culture is different than the traditional hierarchical culture? Is your organisation planning to make a cultural shift in case it is still following the traditional culture? Is your organisation considering how it recognizes, rewards, hires, appraises, develops, and manages its people? Is your organisation aware that the more it changes its cultural climate to offer its support to its teams, the more it will receive from its teams regarding work?
Spend some time reflecting on the above tips or questions to ensure that your team contributes most effectively towards the success of your business. You will be surprised how your team members will love you for taking this effort towards team building, and your business will automatically soar when you have teams who are empowered and responsible for their work. Can you expect any better work-life than this?