Team Building : The Advanced Guide

As Helen Keller once famously said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”, and with this, she underlined the very essence of team building.

Team building is nothing but the process of turning a group of employees into a cohesive and collaborative team. The organisation builds up dedicated strategies during the team building activity to motivate employees and increase the all-round performance of the team. At the heart of it is efficient management of people, by letting each employee grow as an individual and as an interdependent team, leading to a close-knit group that stays, works, and achieves together.

There are basically two kinds of relationships on team building days; the relationship between the teams, and the relationship between the individual members of a particular team. It is the responsibility of each team member to strengthen and enhance both the relationships.

Types of team building activity

The way organisations build teams can be broadly divided into the following categories:

Passive tactics: These relate to evolving communication protocols, through tools like project management software, etc.

Active tactics: These relate to particular tactics like partaking in team building activities and games.

Different approaches to team building

There are many different approaches and strategies that can help in effective team building, and the following are the five that standout among those.

  • Setting goals

The foremost step is laying emphasis on the significance of both individual and team goals and setting clear objectives. This approach allows a team to define a sense of achievement and failure, and leta them measure their success. For this purpose, the organisation needs to start with the mission and vision statement for the team, and communicate it across all members.

An organisation should set goals which are measurable to match your missions and vision. The goals of the individual team members also need to come together for this purpose. The goals that you set should not just be meaningful but also quantitative, such that, you are able to track these and see if they bear results.

  • Clarifying roles

Clarifying roles refers to emphasising the understanding of each individuals’ own, as well as the team’s roles. Along with setting clarified and clear roles, specific expectations also need to be set so that the team members know exactly what to expect.

Setting clear roles will offer a structure and reduce ambiguity, and help in developing communication channels with regards to particular roles. Create tasks that lead to team interactions, where the roles of each member are highlighted and understanding gained on how those roles are related to others’.

  • Problem solving

These type of activities aim to enhance critical thinking abilities by ensuring that the team members work together in collaboration. It can be done through involving the team members in action planning so that each member of the team understands which particular issues will be solved at which particular stage. It also aims to develop strong connections within the team so that they can rely on the judgement offered by others when being involved in various problem solving activities.

Problem solving activities also pertains to improving communication in order that team members are able to freely share their ideas about possible solutions to the issues, thereby, enabling the problem to be solved more effectively and quickly.

  • Interpersonal relations

Last but not least in importance, building interpersonal relations puts the emphasis on increasing teamwork skills such as giving and receiving support, sharing, and communication. This makes the teams highly efficient and reduce chances of interpersonal conflicts. Building interpersonal relationships happens in four stages:

Forming, when the members do not know each other well, and the time is spent in creating bonds through collecting information and planning.

Storming, where the team begins to approach the tasks set. They tend to compete for hierarchy and power and it can lead to complete destruction of team ethics if situations are not properly handled.

Norming, as the team gravitates towards coordination, and starts agreeing on values and moves that they will have to operate under. This stage can come up early if the previous stages are handled well.

Performing, when the team has enough strength to effectively complete the tasks. The team is cohesive and strong, with a clear focus on the goals, and a clear understanding of the delegated tasks.

The benefits of team building activities

Team building activities have a positive effect on all team outcomes. It is obvious when a group of individuals work well together, have common goals, a sense of combined responsibility, and the desired skill set, they will naturally experience success.

Here’s a few more benefits of team building:

  • Develops better communication

Team building creates a cooperative and friendly workplace where people have the freedom to discuss ideas openly, and therefore aim for better innovations.

  • Lets people get to know each other

When people of the team get to know each other, they naturally respect one another more, ensure better collaboration, and solve problems more effectively.

  • Identifying responsibilities and roles

With team building initiatives, the responsibilities and roles, along with the hierarchy, are clearly understood. This helps in forming respect among team members, and their decisions can be implemented in a better manner.

  • Improvement in individual and group productivity

Team building helps in improving productivity through refining bonds, socialising, and making new friends. It increases the morale of employees, and as a result, they work better together to solve their issues and reach their individual and combined goals.

  • Offering the scope for friendly competition

Initiating team building activities does not pertain to doing away with competition once and for all. Rather, it focuses on creating a healthy competition amongst team members, where they strive to give their best without being antagonistic towards each other in the process.

Though the approaches to team building are multiple, and you will have to consciously work towards implementing those, at the end it is all worth it for the benefits that you will get to reap for your organisation. Increased productivity, higher efficiency, and a general happy and positive work environment makes it all worth the effort.