What is Team Building?


What is Team Building?

Like any other relationship, professional ties need to be cultivated in order to foster a conducive workplace environment. It is imperative therefore for companies, regardless of industry, to allot time and resources for team building development activities.

Team building is a continuing effort by a company to promote harmonious relationships and strategic thinking between employees across all levels. Overall, an effective program can lead to enhanced productivity, better communication and collaboration, and a higher level of contentment in terms of jobs.

Team building, however, should not be confused with team training, which is another workforce development program that is meant to improve employees’ core competencies and effectiveness in relation to their tasks. Team building does not necessarily have to be formal in nature, and can be held in settings far from the actual workplace. Typically, it is done when symptoms that signal the need for it arise. These include, among others, the lack of involvement among staff members, increased misunderstanding and conflict, negative sentiments towards other employees and lack of initiative.

There are four approaches that organizers should look at when it comes to team building. These do not have to be done all at once, but can be phased as the need arises, or one after another to cover a yearlong program.

1 – Setting Goals

The first step towards creating an effective team building program is setting individual and team objectives. This is, of course, with the assumption that key challenges have been determined and ready to be addressed. Goal setting should be taken seriously to make the program more actionable and help staff members work towards agreed outcomes. It is recommended that everyone should be involved in the preparation of an action plan, as this will strengthen the team’s motivation in achieving desired results. Expectations from the program should be properly laid down to determine needed resources to facilitate implementation.

2 – Clarifying Roles

This approach aims to promote a clear understanding of the role each participant plays within the team. It emphasizes the importance of good communication among members relative to their duties and responsibilities to avoid ambiguity. For management people, this is a crucial stage to understand the combination of talents within a team and how best to utilize it. At the end of the day, each participant should have a mindset that everyone in the team is interdependent, and a wrong action of one will impact on the whole.

3 – Resolving Problems

There will be inevitable times when team members will be faced with team-related problems, and they have to be able to properly address them. This approach points to the need for good problem solving and critical thinking skills that eventually lead to sound decision-making. When teams have these skills, members are less likely to require management intervention to help them decide on internal matters. This stage is in relation to enhancing teamwork, which encompasses mutual support, correspondence and open sharing of sentiments. It is important to build confidence and loyalty within a team; thus, this stage of team building should also aim to develop mutual respect and trust between members.

4 – Fostering a Supportive Environment

This approach teaches team members that effective interaction does not have to end within a team. They should be able to realize that their team is not a closed system that thrives on its own; therefore, they should also be able to communicate effectively with external parties. Team building efforts should take into consideration the need for excellent diplomatic relations with key officials, support teams and other departments that affect their performance, whether directly or indirectly. Internal disagreements during meetings are a commonplace in a team, but members should always present a unified stance when faced with the rest of the organization.

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