Getting Started: Identifying Your Team’s Needs
The first and most important step when planning team building activities is to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
Start by asking the following questions to identify the root of any problems:
- Are there conflicts between certain people that are creating divisions within the team?
- Do team members need to get to know one another better?
- Do some members focus on their own success, and harm the group as a result?
- Is poor communication affecting the group’s progress?
- Do people need to learn to work together, instead of individually?
- Do some members affect the group’s ability to move forward through resistance to change?
- Does the group need a morale boost?
Making Team Building Part of Your Culture
Set-piece team building exercises are one way to strengthen the bonds within your team, but they are not a shortcut to success. Instead, you need to make team building part of your group’s mindset.
Think about the team building potential of routine workplace activities, first. Then, use the following four strategies to develop your team’s strength, cohesiveness and effectiveness day to day:
1. Get to Know Your Team
Your team is made up of people with different needs, ambitions and personalities. Getting to know them, and helping them to get to know each other, can build a happy, trusting team.
Hosting a pre-holiday drinks evening or even an inexpensive team barbeque, for example, are easy ways to start to get your team members mixing and mingling.
Attending social events is a great way to build relationships. People will more likely open up and reveal more of their personalities in a relaxed setting. Also, research has shown that sharing aspects of your personal life increases your likability, as it shows others that you can be an empathic, compassionate and authentic manager.
Socializing with your colleagues or boss is different from socializing with friends and family! Our article on socializing at work can help you and your team members to enjoy yourselves appropriately.
2. Work Toward a Common Goal
You can unite your people by inspiring them to get behind a shared vision or goal. Having a clearly identified destination can prevent individuals from pulling in different directions, which is frustrating and ineffective.
Creating a Team Charter can provide your people with a written definition of the team’s purpose and goals. You can find strategies for bringing a team together to achieve a particular goal in our Bite-Sized Training session, Team Building.
3. Develop Strong Team Skills
Your team needs to develop the right skills and competencies to achieve its goals. A skills matrix is a solid starting point for doing this. Use the matrix to audit your team members’ abilities and training needs, and to match their skills to specific roles.
Developing stronger skill sets, and matching your people to the roles best suited to them, can result in a more able, more motivated team.
4. Connect With a Virtual Team
Chances are, as more and more people work remotely, you could find yourself managing a virtual team . It can be hard to build rapport among team members who never, or rarely, meet face-to-face. Time zones and cultural differences can present additional challenges when considering team building activities or strategies for remote teams.
Your remote team members might feel isolated from their colleagues, so they will likely welcome opportunities for socializing “virtually,” improving their skills, and having fun, too! See our article, Virtual Team Building Exercises , for some practical suggestions.
It is possible to stay in regular and effective communication with virtual team members, given the wide range of online tools that are available. However, the key to building an effective team lies more in how its members communicate than in the technology they use.
Using Team Building Exercises
One-off team building exercises can be a useful, effective way to address a particular weakness or problem. But there is also the danger that, at best, they are just a nice day out of the office or, at worst, they can do more harm than good.
Poorly planned events can be embarrassing, or physically and emotionally uncomfortable, for participants.
Organization Confrontation Meeting
Confrontation meeting is an activity which allows entire management group, composed of individual from all levels of the organization to take a quick reading on its own health and within matter of hours to set action plan for improving it.
This activity is based on
a) Experience with an action oriented method of planned change.
b) It involves the entire in a joint action-planning programme.
c) The meeting can be conducted several times with one morning and one evening session involving only two or more hours out of usual working days.
Where it is effective?
a) Where there is a genuine commitment to solving the problems on the part of top management.
b) Top management intends to improve the conditions rapidly.
c) There is adequate cohesiveness in the top management team to ensure follow-up.
Benefits of confrontation meeting.
a) Direct communication is improved
b) Morale of employees increased.
c) Better work culture.
d) Improve inter department human relationship
e) Get solutions on day-to-day problems.
Elements of confrontation meeting
a) Climate setting
b) Information collection
c) Information sharing
d) Priority setting & grouping planning.
e) Organization action plan
f) Immediate follow-up by top team
g) Progress review.
A) Climate setting
It requires one hour.
In the very beginning, the top executive communicates to the entire management group his objectives for the meeting and his concern for and interest in open discussion and problem facing.
B) Information collection
It requires one hour.
The entire group of employees is divided into small heterogeneous units consisting of seven to eight participants.
If there is top management group it meets as a separate unit.
No boss and subordinates are placed together.
Each unit consists of participants from each functional area.
The assignments to these units like:
1) Yourselves as an individual with needs and goals.
2) As a person concerned about total organization.
3) What are the obstacles?
b) Poor policies & procedures
c) Unclear goals
d) Poor attitude, which exists today.
Each unit is advised to choose to reporter to present its finding at a general information sharing to be conducted an hour later.
C) Information Sharing
Each unit’s representative writes his unit’s entire results on a sheet paper, which is displayed at a meeting hall.
Meeting leader provides some major categories in which all the data from all the sheets can be classified.
E.g. If there are 100 items, the possibility is that these can be classified into 8-9 groups involving heading such as communication difficulties, problem with top management etc.
The data sheet is duplicated for the purpose of circulation.
D) Priority setting and group action planning
It involves one hour or more.
The entire group engages itself in a 15 min general session.
With the meeting leader the participants go through the raw data on the duplicated sheets and assign a category number to each element of data.
People assemble in their functional natural work units in for one or more hours.
Thus HR members drawn from all level assemble in one unit, in technical another and so on.
DH presides over the unit.
Each unit is assigned three specific tasks.
•It is required to discuss the problems and issues, which influence its areas of work, and to ascertain the priorities and early actions to which the group is willing to commit itself.
•It is required to identify the issues and problems to which the management team should give maximum priority.
•It is required to ascertain as how to communicate the findings of the session to their subordinates.
E) Organizational Action Plan
It requires two hours.
Total group is assembled in a general session.
Each functional unit reports its commitments and plans to the total group.
Reports and enlists the items which its members believe the management team should deal with first.
Top management is required to react to this list and make commitments for action where needed.
Each unit is required to share briefly its plan for communicating the results of confrontation meeting to all subordinates.
F) Immediate follow-up
Requires 1-3 hours.
Top management team is required to meet immediately after the completion of the confrontation meeting to plan first a set of follow up action which is to be reported ultimately back to the total management group within a few days.
G) Progress Review
After specific intervals progress review of confrontation meeting is to be taken by top management team.
Confrontation Meeting Provides
1) The top management with accurate information regarding an organisation health and the opportunity to make suitable action decision based upon proper information from the organisation.
2) The units with the opportunity to establish priorities for improvement, an increased involvement in the organisation objectives as well as a real commitment to action.
3) A basis for ascertaining other mechanisms for communication between levels and group, proper direction of decision, problem solving within sub-units as well as the tool for upward influence.