The team is the foundation of any organization. Strengthening your team pays off with numerous benefits, which includes a more efficient group synergy and long term organizational growth. Unfortunately, not many teams start out perfectly in sync. Each individual member has their personal goals and quirks, which can sometimes get in the way of group productivity.
Investing in high-impact team building is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Here are five ways to ensure the best results from your efforts:
Having open avenues for communication is essential before, during, and after your team building activities. Make sure you know what your teammates are feeling, so you understand them better. This will also prompt you on how to react during your interactions. Knowing how to adjust and work with everyone in the team is a start in forming a strong bond.
One way to strengthen communication between group members is to make them feel safe to open up. A simple “How are you?” or “How do you feel?” after engaging in a team activity gives you their direct thoughts on the matter. Make sure everyone listens actively to the speaker, or that they understood correctly what their teammate meant. Giving opportunities for free speech can also give way to fresh ideas.
2. Keep a Goal in Mind
A team works best together if it has a common goal. Defining what that goal is greatly boosts team morale. While your overarching objective is to foster a united team spirit for a more efficient work flow, setting small goals during team building can help you get started.
Hold activities with concrete results in mind. Do you want to solve a puzzle, or out-muscle another team? Do you need to strategize together, or contribute individual strengths to a team? These goals will not only reveal your work dynamics, but also help each member of the team to work together despite inherent personal or professional differences.
3. Be Inclusive
Each team member has their strengths – and their weaknesses. Having various events during team building may call for some strengths more than others, and some of the people in your group may not always catch on so quickly. But aside from reaching your objectives, it’s also important to remember that team building is all about learning to work with each other.
Leave no man or woman behind. Even if there are ‘weak links’ among your team mates, be as inclusive as possible. Find ways to play up on each person’s strength so that manpower isn’t wasted. There may be more exceptional members of the team, but that doesn’t mean you should solely rely on them. Make everyone feel valued, and you’ll come up with a more efficient and effective work force.
4. Encourage Friendly Competition
Competition is often misconstrued as a negative thing among team members. It becomes the root of envy, distrust, and the overall downfall of a group. However, it can also be used to your advantage at times. Facilitating a form of healthy competition among teams actually boosts productivity and work quality.
One such way to encourage friendly competition is by offering rewards and incentives in each team building activity. There is a greater sense of achievement in obtaining something in return for one’s efforts. Like a common goal, having a reward to keep your team motivated is more likely to improve work dynamics among team members, no matter how different they are from each other.
5. Take a Break
While working in a team is a necessity in most work spaces, a sense of individuality and independence is also highly valued. It may seem counterintuitive, but a break from all the group work also strengthens a team’s core. Google and other innovative companies show that giving employees time to work on personal projects motivates and contribute to their creative process.
Make the most out of these team breaks by having each member share their personal discoveries and thoughts afterwards. The fresh insight could give way to new perspectives and more innovative collaborations. Harness each member’s capacity for individual originality, and marvel at the results.
The Takeaway: No ‘I’ in Team
A team is an essential operating unit in any organization. It’s expected that each member functions in sync with everyone else, but that’s a highly idealized vision of group work. The truth is there will be differences, misunderstandings, and bumps along the way. That’s why high-impact team building is necessary in enabling a team to function.
Open avenues for better communication, have a common goal, and be as inclusive as possible to maximize every person’s potential. Encourage friendly competition and take a break every now and then to avoid burning your team out. Take note of all these tips and watch the returns of your investment come to you.
Melissa Allen is a business coach and a content creator. She combines several spheres of activities. Today she is working on educational project Aussie Writers and 2 others. Also, she is working under creation of course “Successful Career” that is dedicated to successful career in educational sphere.