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Leadership & Team Building: Solving Issues

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." - Henry Adams

In the highly competitive and cost-conscious environments today, many companies are beginning to realize that most matters can be successfully dealt with within the company if there are workable teams of problem-solving ability. By getting the most out of the resources available from the people already knowledgeable about the problem, the company can problem-solve more effectively and in a fraction of the time.

Teamwork entails many activities. There is decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and a few other activities. This chapter looks at the team-building exercises that tackle various aspects of teamwork.

What are the different exercises that a team can take part in?

What do these exercises entail, and how are they important? Relationships cannot be forced; people need to work on different things to make them work. This is the same thing with teamwork. People will not just automatically learn to communicate and trust each other. They must practice these skills.

Fixing It

Successful companies realize that by getting the employees to work in teams, ongoing challenges, opportunities, improvements, re-engineering, product development, and many other aspects can be

better addressed and solutions found in the oneness

effect of the problem-solving mindset.

They can deploy teams whenever there is a need quickly done if the proper complimenting tools and training are constantly available.

Some of the problem-solving areas that should be covered within the exercise should be clearly defined. These may include clearly defined goals, finding and priority listing the barriers to the said goals, and suitable development of solutions that are not only clever and cost-effective but should also be workable.

Not forgetting the cooperation of all involved is another especially essential element that should not be overlooked as this one element can derail any problem-solving exercise.

When all this has been discussed and explored, the next step in the problem-solving venture should ensure the plan's proper execution.

Constant or periodic checks should be practiced to ensure the exercise is kept on track and solve problems effectively. At the very least, some success is shown in understanding and addressing the issue.

All this is done with the end goal of ensuring smooth and speedy attainment. With the necessary tools and techniques available, most teams can help improve the company's effectiveness and sustainability.

Communication Exercises

Communication is a vital part of any given relationship. Two people cannot live and work together unless they can communicate. The same theory applies to a team; for a group to work together, they must be able to communicate with each other effectively r.

Communication goes beyond sharing a common language. Two people may be English speakers, but even without the language barrier, they may not be able to communicate with each other. There are so many fundamental principles that go into effective communication. Therefore, this type of exercise usually is vital in any given team.

There are many types of communication exercises geared to help team members communicate with each other effectively. One such exercise is the "blind man and guide." In this exercise, two teammates are forced to collaborate. They need to retrieve a particular object within the vicinity. However, one teammate must do the retrieval while blindfolded. The other teammate will then give directions to help them make the retrieval. The only way they can do this is by working together and communicating. If the guide becomes frustrated and starts yelling at the "blind man," this will bring about confusion and hinder their progress. On the other hand," the blind man" will not succeed if he decides not to listen to the "guide."

There are also communication exercises that involve interaction with all team members. You should mingle, bond with members, and get to know them well. After this, you will be asked for details about the team members. This typically evaluates listening skills and memory.

Trust and Interdependence Exercises

According to research, this is one of the most challenging exercises to administer. Naturally, people take time to build trust. Trying to get the team members to trust each other may be a difficult task but still achievable. It is trusting each other to cement the relationship between the team. This helps them to collaborate well. It also makes an individual gain some sense of responsibility.

Different exercises can be used to build trust and interdependence—for instance, one practice whereby the collaborators line up in two rows. The people in the first row typically have their backs to the others in the second. Now without turning back, they must fall back, letting their guard down. They should be able to trust that the team member is standing behind them to catch them. Now without turning around, they must fall back, letting their guard down. Problem Solving Exercises

The whole concept of these exercises is to evaluate the team’s critical thinking skills. You give them a problem and watch every step they make to solve it. You will also get how well they will work together to solve it. This is a vital exercise because it can influence the success of any team. A team that cannot manage the task may crumble and fall under pressure. On the other hand, a group that can do this well will be able to go through any difficulties and come out victorious in the end.

Some of the problem-solving exercises include putting a big puzzle together. Every team member plays a role in ensuring that this is done. You may also present a problem to the team and ask them to solve it. This can be anything that has to deal with their work. For instance, a customer care department team may be asked to play out a scene where an irritable customer threatens one of their staff members with violence. The staff member is not supposed to manage the situation alone. It is up to the team to devise a strategy to address the current problem and put measures in place for handling similar issues in the future.

Decision-Making Exercises

This is much like problem-solving exercises. It evaluates the team's ability to make decisions together. In these exercises, the whole team is supposed to work together. It will not be upon the leader to produce the following action plan. These exercises are essential in any group. When a team makes good tough decisions together, they will be successful. However, a team that does not involve all members in decision-making may end up fostering resentment from the members who have been left out. It will also affect the quality of the decision since the best ones are the ones that are made by all members sharing ideas. On the other hand, a total inability to make decisions will delay projects and ultimately contribute to the failure of the whole team.

In such exercises, a team may be presented with a problem and about five different solution alternatives. They must discuss these alternatives and decide on the best choice for the whole team. Each group member should explain why they believe that is the best choice. They should also get to the point of either compromise or total agreement.

Planning Exercises

Nothing much can ever be conducted without proper planning. Therefore, this exercise is essential in any given team. This goes hand in hand with adopting practices. This is supposed to help the group to realize its strengths and weaknesses. The muscles are all together to show exactly what the group can achieve if they collaborate.

Planning exercises are very many. You can have the team face a task whereby they must complete it effectively and in the shortest time possible. For instance, you can ask them to supply a budget for a certain amount. The budget should explain how they expect to get home with them. They should imagine that tended at a bus station with just a basic introduction.

Socialization Exercises

The team needs to learn how to socialize with each other. These exercises are sometimes referred to as bonding exercises. They are supposed to help the employees to get to know each other through social interaction. This will help build their work relationship, making them much more effective. It will also help create an excellent working atmosphere free of hostilities.

Socialization exercises usually are straightforward. You can have a setting like a speed dating game. The employees will be asked to talk to each other for a few minutes. When this time elapses, they are to move to another team member. This is repeated until all team members have had a chance to talk to each other. This exercise should be fun and straightforward.

Personal Development Exercises

Sometimes it is hard to be a collaborator if you have friendly personality traits. Some are naturally shy; others are anti-social, while others may not be comfortable in the team. This exercise helps everyone examine themselves and evaluate what they bring to the team. It encourages members to get out of their shells or individual limitations and become the best they can be.

Members may be faced with individually producing their shortcomings and listing them down. They should do this anonymously. The lists are then handed down to the leader. The team comes together after this and discusses the solution for each shortcoming. For instance, people who may have listed shyness as a shortcoming may be offered advice on overcoming this. Remember, nobody will be addressed directly due to anonymity. It will just be like a braining storming session. Once people are comfortable with themselves in the team, they will be more productive.

Awareness And Sensitivity Exercises

This is usually a light exercise, especially in mixed teams. It is common to find organizations refusing this part of team building. However, it is essential. There are so many stereotypes that come with every group of people. This may naturally bring about resentment and distrust between members of a team. This affects their ability to work together.

However, you can make this exercise fun and educative simultaneously. Produce name tags for everyone. In this name tag, do not put any negative stereotypes. Put positive messages on a group or a person. For instance, if a person is associated with a group of people considered to be sneaky liars but with brilliant minds, the latter is the tag. Then put the tags on the back of each person. Each person should guess what is on their back without looking. Teambuildingteambuilding exercises are not just about having fun. They help teach people the core aspects of teamwork and how to be a team.

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