It takes great leadership to build great teams. Whether in the local community, professional sports, or in the workplace, team building calls for a clear understanding of people, their motivation to work with others, as well as their strengths. It also necessitates the management of egos and their regular demands for recognition and attention. While team building is both a science and an art, great leaders build high performance teams.
As indicated by history, it requires an extraordinary leader with distinctive skills and competencies to build great teams in a successful manner. In the business world, various leaders have stand out in possession of unique leadership skills which have taken their companies to the next level. An example of such a leader is Jack Welsh, who was the chief executive officer (CEO) of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. During his tenure, the value of the company rose by 4000 percent. He established the Jack Welsh Management Institute at Strayer University in 2009 in order to boost leadership and management skills.
Having the knowledge to build lasting teams is a pre-requisite for building companies.
Without it, most managers fail to become leaders, while majority of leaders fail to attain the highest level of success. It necessitates the capability to master the “art of people”. Team building also implies understanding how every person thinks and utilizes his or her competence in the best way possible.
Team building is considered an essential factor in every environment. It specializes at bringing out the best in a team. This guarantees positive communication, self development, leadership skills as well as the capability to work together as a team to solve difficult problems.
Four Cs for team building
Organizations employ managers, executives and staff members who are tasked with the responsibility of exploring ways of enhancing business results and profitability. Team based improvement efforts aim at building the best teams in order to produce excellent results. Team-based horizontal organization structure is perceived as the best design for engaging all the staff in generating business success. Successful team-building should generate effective and focused work teams. Some of the factors which should be considered while building successful teams are outlined below.
While building a team, executive leadership should communicate its expectations regarding the performance and the anticipated results in a clear way. One of the most important factors to consider is whether the team members recognize why the team was created. Secondly, the organization should show constancy of purpose in supporting the team with the required resources such as time and money. Lastly, executive leaders should give adequate emphasis concerning the work of the team. It should be a priority in terms of interest, attention, time and discussion.
Team members should comprehend why they are taking part in its activities, and how the team strategy would assist the organization in attaining its communicated business goals. They should describe the importance of their team in accomplishing the organization’s corporate goals. The team should also recognize where its work fits in the entire context of the principles, goals, values, and vision of the organization.
Commitment is very significant while undertaking any activity. It entails the desire of the team members to take part in its activities. They should acknowledge the importance of the team mission, and be committed in achieving its goals as well as the expected results. Team members should expect acknowledgement for their contributions, besides anticipating their skills to grow and develop.
Effective communication is a key prerequisite in building successful teams.
Team members should be clear regarding the priority of their tasks. They should have an established technique of giving feedback and receiving candid performance feedback. The organization should offer essential business information to the team on a regular basis and enable the team to understand the importance of its existence. Team members should also be able to communicate clearly and effectively with each other and be allowed to bring their viewpoints on the table.
Team building exercises
Team building exercises are a great way of uniting a group, developing its strengths, and addressing weaknesses. The exercises must be planned and fulfilled in a strategic manner. It means that there should be a genuine reason behind a leader’s decision to plan such exercises- for instance, enhancing a group’s communication, creativity and problem solving skills.
There are different kinds of team building exercises that are designed to develop members as well as their capability to work together in an effective manner. These activities range from easy social exercises aimed at encouraging group members to spend time together and interact, to group development activities which are intended to assist persons learn how to address problems, work together to improve performance, and discover effective communication methods.
While planning team building exercises, the most important step is figuring out the challenges faced by your team. Through this, a leader is able to choose effective exercises to help the members solve such challenges. Some team building exercises include the following.
Decision making exercises
Decision making or problem solving exercises are aimed for team members who work together to make complex decisions or solve difficult problems. They are common because most leaders and managers want their teams to have the ability to make decisions and solve problems where they arise. A team leader can give his members a difficult problem that lacks an obvious solution. In that case, the team members have to work together to generate a creative solution.
Communication exercises focus on enhancing communication skills within a group. They assist groups to solve problems in a successful manner through effective communication. A team leader should generate an activity highlighting the significance of effective communication in group performance to see how his members respond to it.
Adaptability and planning exercises are aimed at assisting members plan and be adaptable to change which is apparent in any successful organization. These exercises prevent any kind of resistance. Planning exercises assist teams while undertaking complex tasks or making decisions. The goal of a team leader is to show the significance of planning prior to implementing a solution.
What to do
Sometimes, managers plan an event without having a clear goal in mind. This results in wastage of time. Besides, managers have a high likelihood of losing the team’s respect if the activity turns out to be unproductive.
Team building is supposed to be a continuous activity. It can be likened to a marathon runner who is preparing for a race. The runner recognizes that for him to win, he has to train for several times prior to the race. Only through constant and regular training would he have the opportunity to win. Team building works in a similar principle. To ensure long-term success of the group, managers should plan for continuous events during the year and make regular follow-ups. It should be an essential part of the organization’s corporate culture.
The aim of team leaders should be incorporating team building activities into their monthly schedule. Through this, all members get a platform of addressing their diverse issues besides getting an opportunity to have fun.
Team building activities should not be competitive. Competition divides a group as team members tend to work against each other. Additionally, it is not a favourable way of building team unity and spirit. Although sports are used by most organizations as team building activities, it is certain that they can do far more harm than good if they merely focus on winning. They contribute to de-motivating individuals who are poor at sports. Therefore, managers should avoid events which focus on competition and winning, and plan activities which make team members depend on each other to succeed.
In a nutshell, effective team building requires leaders to first identify the problems faced by their groups. This should be followed by planning activities aimed at addressing these challenges directly. By doing so, the team leader ensures that the event is beneficial to the group. The main focus should be making team building an element of the daily corporate culture, rather than a yearly exercise.