Team Building Steps to Building an Effective Team


Why Team Building Matters

Building a great autonomous team is one thing. And having a group of people communicating well and working together is a huge benefit and the work situation. But unfortunately, nothing happens in a vacuum. One of the most important factors of any team building is finding a leader who is able to help the team by steering them towards predefined and clear goals. We would go as far to suggest that many teams fail simply because their leadership is lacking. In truth, we have a rather poor view of middle management. It appears that rather than building relationships through loyalty and trust, they find it easier to take the lazy root of using fear and power, and more often than not this is not for the benefit of others. But simply to be able to maintain their position of authority.

Let The Employees Do What’s Best

Many workplaces could benefit from letting their teams act in a more autonomous manner, with less control from above. No one knows their own work better than the employee actually tasked with that particular job. They already know the quickest methods for dealing with their own day-to-day tasks. More often than not, employers fall back on team building simply because they themselves fail to understand exactly what's happening under their own roof. 

The Important Factors In Team Building

For this type of employer, and for all the middle managers out there, we've put together a list of attributes and factors that we think should be at the forefront of your mind when you're thinking about any sort of team building, or looking for activities that will bring your employees close together. 

Always try to be open and sensitive to employees' moods. Always respect and consider others feelings.

Make sure that your employees know that their ideas matter and are valuable to the business.

Always try to create harmony as opposed to discord. This can be done by being open and sensitive. learn some empathy.

Ensure your directives are clear and that you are communicating with absolute clarity.

Encourage team members to understand the importance of sharing information. Let each individual know that their individual contribution matters, and all together as one, this will take the team towards its goals.

Promote cooperation amongst all members of your team. Keep in mind they will have their own relationships amongst each other, and the relationship you establish with them will need to be of equal importance. Always look for ways that you can help improve trust and respect.

Establish team goals and values, and ensure that you are constantly evaluating the team’s performance. Don't hesitate to discuss progress being made on the various projects at hand. This tells the employee you are interested in their success and also in the various challenges that lie ahead. 

Don't be afraid to let the team work on creative solutions themselves. As a given, we think it's a good idea that you always celebrate problem-solving tasks with the whole team. This encourages communication amongst themselves, as well as a team effort that is shared amongst everyone.

As we always say of teamwork, “communication is key.” Without a doubt, it's most single important factor in the makings of a successful team. This doesn't mean that you have to hold meetings and conferences all the time. Simply that you are open to their suggestions and concerns. Take time out, ask the right questions, and always offer help. As a manager, your job is to clear a path so that your employees can concentrate on the work at hand.

Make use of the consensus of the team. In other words, don't set out to manage as such. Rather try to encourage an environment where everyone feels they can contribute, and that those contributions matter and will always be taken into consideration.

Create the team's norms and ground rules. Again this can be done with the consensus of the team itself. These norms should be put into place as soon as possible as they will help ensure success and efficiency. These can vary from the simplest of directives i.e, “be punctual for meetings” to more familiar things and general guidelines i.e, “everyone has the right to make suggestions.” It's important that once the normative and rules are set in place, they are respected by everyone.

Decide on the methodology of achieving consensus. This may be through open debate or asking various members to research and investigate the various issues that need looking into. 

Still on the subject of consensus, you're going to need to construct parameters around consensus building sessions. On a practical level, this is simply to stop discussions going on late into the night. At the outset, there should always be established time limits. On another related note, you should always watch out for false consensus. Essentially, if you find an agreement has been struck too quickly, then you'll need to probe each member to discover their real feelings about any proposed solution. Sometimes the more timid and shy members will simply agree to get the meeting over with without having to lend their voice.

Encourage brainstorming. And at the same time, encourage listening. You can do this by setting a good example yourself. As a manager, you should try and stimulate a healthy debate in the workplace about any issue that comes to mind. What you’ll find is that many employees are nervous or reluctant to discuss many work situations, simply because they are afraid there will be friction and disagreement. This leads to mediocre decision-making. By encouraging a healthy debate, you are really inspiring creativity. And there is nothing like a good dose of creativity to illuminate the road ahead to greater success.

Between a Rock And a Hard Place

As a manager, you’re often stuck between a rock and a hard place. Pressure comes from all sides. From above there’s a requirement for instant results. From below there’s a feeling of alienation from upper management and their lofty company goals. In many businesses we can see how this festers quietly in the form of hidden resentment. As you are directly between these opposing tribes, your job is to help everyone communicate better. Always try to put empathy first. Listen carefully to what employees are saying. Lead from the back through encouragement and praise. If you want to build great teams, then you’ll have to do so using your own management style as the main cue and example. 


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