Self-Awareness Workshops

Team Building

10 Practical Team Building Tips

Many leaders and organizations try to implement team building in one or two sessions only to find that their employees quickly revert to old behaviors. It takes time and commitment for team building to take root and grow in any organization. It’s nearly impossible to move away from the behaviors you’ve built up over time and replace them with new, more effective ones without sustained effort. Here are ten practical tips to help you get the most out of your team building program.

  1. Make sure leadership is fully involved and sets a positive tone.
  2. Team building is offered to employees at every level.
  3. A one-hour time block per week is set aside for team building activities.
  4. Refrain from changing the team building schedule or combining it with other meetings.
  5. No interruptions during sessions, including people using phones, texting or being called out of the activities.
  6. Leave egos and agendas at the door, everyone is treated equally.
  7. Use an experienced, positive and neutral facilitator for activities.
  8. Focus on activities that build deeper interactions and relationships.
  9. Practice new behaviors over time.
  10. Evaluate how you’re doing after six months and make adjustments if necessary.

The key to successful team building is to participate in activities that bring people together on a deeper level and help them acquire skills to keep moving forward. Practice team building over time so that everyone gets used to doing it. Once people are comfortable with your new approach, it becomes second nature and your workplace shifts to one where collaboration and shared purpose are the norm. How will you promote long-term team building in your organization?

Take care,

Guy


Team Building: Healing the Past to Move Forward

Many teams hang on to hurts from the past that get in the way of practicing effective team building.  Although it’s highly beneficial to heal past hurts, it’s common for leaders and teams to pretend that they don’t exist and avoid dealing with them.  When you heal the past you get rid of the junk that clogs up your workplace interactions.  You get a chance to hit the reset button and move in whatever direction you want with your team.

I am not recommending that your group wallows in agony and despair.  Your goal is to benefit from acknowledging the past and then move forward.  If you have some issue that affects your team’s functioning today why not do something to move past it?  Once you resolve it you’ll be ready to grow without having that issue holding you back in any way.  Here’s how you can get started working together on putting the past behind you.

1.  Think of something that happened to the team that still affects everyone to this day.

2.  Acknowledge that it exists.

3.  Write down how it affects each person currently.

4.  How would the group be different if this issue were not in the picture?

5.  What is each member of the team willing to do to move beyond the issue?

Your answers to these ideas will help you start a dialogue and create a starting point so that you can move forward without the the past weighing you down.  You’ll also all work together more happily without the stuff that was holding you back.

Take care,

Guy


Team Building, Conflict Resolution and Your Leadership

Leaders often tolerate conflict as a normal part of workplace interactions.  This can lead to workplaces where everyone is simply trying to survive and there isn’t much team building or cohesion.  Many leaders and employees view chronic, habitual conflict as normal.  People are allowed to cut each other down, make hurtful comments or threaten each other (overtly or more subtly) while leaders look on and admire their energy and camaraderie.

Traditionally, many of our workplaces have been rough and tumble zones where only the fittest survive.  This dynamic tends to sap productivity and morale over time because only a few people thrive and the remainder get demoralized.  Our predecessors might have been unable to envision a workplace that didn’t encourage conflict but we can.

We have the ability to create kinder workplaces where people have the opportunity to work well together and build positive work environments.  We can fight less and face our challenges united.  In the past, we let conflict fester and permeate our workplaces but now we have tools to actually fix things.

Some practical elements you can think about when workplace conflict arises include:

  • What is the problem really about?
  • Do you know what each employee thinks about the problem?
  • Have you all worked together to come up with possible solutions?
  • Is everyone’s voice listened to and given equal weight?
  • Does everyone know how to listen to other points of view?
  • Can people deal with conflict without escalating?
  • Is conflict an opportunity for change in your workplace?
  • How are your communication skills?
  • Do you have a consistent system for resolving conflict?
  • Do you ask for help from neutral, uninvolved third parties?

Team building and conflict resolution in the workplace depend on you as a leader.  You decide whether your workplace advances without direction or follows a more productive path.  Consider the following ideas for your workplace:

  • Develop a clear, concise conflict resolution strategy that is taught and followed at all levels.
  • Build productive, two-way communication skills by teaching your employees how to communicate effectively.
  • Highlight the importance of listening skills and teach everyone how to listen to each other.
  • Practice team building by giving everyone the framework and tools to collaborate.
  • Set a positive example by behaving in ways that support team building, conflict resolution and collaboration.

These concepts help leaders and organizations resolve conflicts more effectively and build happier organizations.  The only catch is that they take commitment but, those who take the plunge and build up these core skills, enjoy long-term health and success.  What will you do to help your teams reduce conflict?

Take care,

Guy

Key Team Building Questions for Leaders

The standard approach to team building helps people bond casually but often neglects the deeper things that bring people together.  As a leader all you have to do is look deep inside yourself and determine whether you’re ready to build great teams.  Here are some key questions you can ask yourself to improve the results you get from team building.

Empathy

Do people deeply understand other people’s points of view and are they able to empathize with others?

Listening

Do people really listen to each other and let the other person say whatever is in his or her mind?  Do they do it without interruptions, sarcasm, punishment, jokes or advice-giving?

Long-Term Commitment

Is your organization firmly committed to helping people build stronger teams long-term?  Is there a culture of team building from the top down?

Deeper Connection

Do people interact with each other on a deeper level?  Do they move past superficial conversation to really getting to know each other?

Mutual Support

Are people there for each other no matter what?  Do they consistently help each other because they genuinely care?

Think about how your team building philosophy meshes with the ideas we’ve talked about.  Team building can yield much greater results for your organization if you move beyond short-term efforts and shift to approaches that are aimed at the values, culture and functioning of the organization. What will you do to promote team building in your company?

Take care,

Guy 

Team Building: Me vs. We

Many leaders struggle with the concept of what will benefit them versus what will benefit everyone in the workplace.  Those who focus exclusively on the me will eventually find that their options are limited because they haven’t built the foundation for collaboration and teamwork that helps organizations succeed.

Even the most talented and visionary leader can’t get much done if he or she doesn’t have the support and buy-in of his or her employees.  There quickly comes a point where any one person’s efforts require the assistance of others.  You simply can’t grow if you don’t have people helping you.

Effective team building is about moving from the me to the we.  It’s where you create a workplace where everyone’s ideas and talents are valued and used to full advantage.  Here are some practical ways to make the shift and create a more cohesive workplace.

  • Give employees the opportunity to develop projects on their own.
  • Encourage people to come up with new ideas.
  • Acknowledge and praise your employees’ contributions.
  • Set aside time for activities that help people connect on a deeper level.
  • Practice excellent listening skills and validate what employees have to say.
  • Make it possible for people to work in teams.
  • Help your employees build key skills like team building or effective communication.
  • Set the example by collaborating with others.
  • Learn how to delegate.
  • Share the credit for a job well done.
  • Help others and let them help you.

When leaders do these things they create positive workplaces where everyone feels like they’re contributing to the success of the organization.  It builds a work environment where people look for opportunities to help and support each other.  What will you do to promote the we?

Take care,

Guy