A frequently overlooked detail of team building is that it is most effective when everyone is on the same page. If you’ve ever tried to build a team and had it go off course due to one or two individuals you can be quite certain it’s because not everyone is on the same page and practicing the same behaviors. For example: You’ve worked diligently to create a great team and then someone else joins the group who throws everything off-balance. Perhaps the person has a strong personality or different vision, he or she can make the whole team unravel.
The effect on teams of having even one person who isn’t fully on board with the process is that your team is only as strong as that person. This happens a lot in organizations where much of the decision making is done by one leader and not by a team. In workplaces like that you get teams that function based on the perspective of one person rather than the input of many.
The challenge in team building is to create an environment where everyone has an important voice and is an equal part of the group instead of having one or two people making decisions for everyone else. A positive way to help your team members get on the same page is to set some basic guidelines for participation. Train everyone so that they understand that everyone’s voice is equal and that no one person is more valuable than the next. Make sure you have a in your meetings who understands how to get rid of power differentials and the interactions that sidetrack successful team meetings. If a new person joins the group, bring them into the process and train them on the guidelines as well as encouraging team members to model positive behaviors. If someone insists on derailing the process keep reiterating the group guidelines and practicing the positive behaviors. Team building isn’t a one-shot process, it takes time and deliberate effort to make it work.
The idea with team building is to create an atmosphere where everyone feels included, valued, important and comfortable participating. This allows leaders to build teams that aren’t derailed by a strong personality or power differentials and, instead, move toward groups where everyone is highly motivated to participate. When everyone on the team is invited and encouraged to provide input you and your organization can achieve greater success because everyone will feel like contributing. What will you do to create stronger teams?