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Leadership & Team Building: The Basics

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” - Dr. Seuss

The primary and most essential element of team training lies in the ability of the leader to instill the motto of working together towards the effective and successful achievement of a goal.

"Teamwork is so essential that you can’t reach the heights of your capabilities or make money that you want without becoming particularly good at it” - Brian Tracy.

To discover the keys to building teamwork, you need to learn about what it means to be a team. You also need to know about team building. These are the two concepts covered in this chapter.

Do you know what teamwork means?

Precisely what is team building, and how does it help in teamwork?

What kind of teams can use the team-building exercises and learn to be a team?

By completing this chapter, you will have found the answers to all these questions.

The Basics

Understanding the various elements involved, such as specifics of the theme within the training exercise, the measurable and achievable standards set, the relevant processes that enable the items above, and the period in which all this is to occur.

Discussions on project plans, schedules, and budgets all be held at the onset of the training exercise to ensure the team’s overall performance accurately reflects the management systems in place.

Within the team training exercise, elements like the results to be produced by the team and clear aims for measuring these results are outlined to be followed diligently, and any deviations should be checked and controlled.

The communication mechanism should also be clear and concise, as not all participants within the team will have the same level of technical understanding. Such divulging of information can be done regularly through different yet equally effective tools such as meetings, emails, collaborations, newsletters, and many other high-tech avenues.

Developing staffing procedures that encourage team participation also allows for a platform where only proper participants form the team. Randomly throwing together a group of individuals and expecting them to work as a team is ludicrous and can also have disastrous results. Assigning an individual within the team training exercise to ensure all the participants are always kept abreast with all the relevant information is also essential, as this supplies the smoothness of the overall team participation.

A team may be a group working together towards a common goal. These people are entitled to different tasks that significantly contribute to achieving the said goal. Teamwork typically involves the team working interdependently. This means that one person’s job manages the success of the next person’s duties.

Teams are typically formed for a variety of reasons. Some are set up for short-term goals, while others are set for long-term ones.

For instance, you may find a team formed to deal with a particular project in an organization. However, you may also find other groups in every department working together to increase their departments' productivity.

Team Building Basics

The idea behind team building is to forge good working relationships between the team members. This ensures that they learn how to work as a team. The team-building exercises help the players to learn how to do this successfully. These exercises can work for any group, whether at work or in sports.

Team building serves more purposes than just helping the team to work together. These exercises also help the teammates to know each other better. This then builds rapport between them and encourages them to support one another.

Team building also helps develop each teammate’s skills through motivation and support. The exercises also help the members to learn how to communicate with each other. This is a crucial aspect of any successful team.

Through team building, the goals and aims of the organization become clearer. These are defined, and each team member is encouraged to take part in helping achieve them. This also helps in sporting activities; a team learns what they want to achieve and how to get there.

Team building also has a few benefits on an individual level. For instance, many people grow and develop their skills by being part of a team. This helps in nurturing their abilities and honing their skills. When the team entrusts you with a role, you will try your best not to disappoint everyone else.

Team building has also helped individuals discover themselves. For instance, some people may not know they can be leaders until they are assigned such roles. Other people find themselves when they get to know others better. For instance, knowing that your colleague is a single mom may make you more tolerant of her absenteeism. You may learn to evoke gentleness and sympathy in yourself.

In most cases, organizations usually hire a team-building consultant to help with the exercises. The consultant takes time to know the team and produce the right strategies for the team. This consultant is strained explicitly for this. He can look at a team and create strategies to improve the performance of the said team.

The consultant typically proposes the organization, clearly laying out his action plan. He says the problems with the team and what has been recommended for helping solve these problems.

The organization then decides whether to hire the consultant based on the proposal. Sometimes, the organization may only agree to some strategies but not all. The consultant is then faced with the team-building task. After the program, he must give the necessary feedback to the organization illustrating just how effective the exercise was.

The Types of Teams That Can Participate in Team Building Exercises

Team building can work in any given team. It can work at work, school, or even when it comes to sports. The departmental team is one of the most popular groups that use these strategies. These are teams of people who do the same kind of work. For instance, you may have a team from the human resources department or even a team from the I.T department. This type of team is usually found in work environments.

There are also management teams. These teams may form managers from various departments. Even as leaders, these people need to learn to work together for the company’s overall success. Team building also helps managers to become better leaders of their teams. The skills bought can be passed down to the group by the leader.

There can also be team building for mixed or cross-functional groups. These are usually teams that are made up of people from different departments in an organization.

These departments must have some common ground. For instance, you can have departments that deal with people, such as customer care and human resources. Am building will build all the team members and enable them to cooperate and be more productive.

Special project teams can also use team-building exercises. These are teams that may be set up for just short-term goals. If they complete the team-building program, such groups will be more effective. In addition, the team may be able to complete the project in a shorter time than expected. This all comes from learning how to collaborate well with each other.

Self-directed teams that form people from different fields also use team-building exercises. They take the program to help themselves grow as leaders.

They also use what they have learned to train their teams to foster the bond that will enable them to work together. Any team with a common goal can use team building to help them work together much better.

A good team has learned how to work together to achieve a common goal. This is the essence of teamwork.

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