All posts by CStrasenburgh

Tips for Team Building

Are you one of those people who dreads working in teams? Have you ever had a bad experience working in teams? Team building is an important element in any environment. It encourages self-development, helps improve communication and leadership skills, and gives people the opportunity to work closely together to resolve complex problems. Team building can be challenging and frustrating, however it can also be beneficial, exhilarating, educational, and the outcome can be very rewarding. Here are some helpful tips that can help create a better team experience:

1.)  Clear understanding of goals: It is essential that team goals are clear and understood by each team member. There should also be complete clarity of each team member’s responsibilities. Team members should be assigned to tasks, which bring out their unique skill sets and strengths. What’s nice about teamwork is one person’s weakness can be another person’s strength, so each individual compensates for another’s weakness, creating a balance.

2.) Create a comfortable environment: Team members should get to know each other before diving into a project. Opportunities for extra social time will help build trust, encourage communication, and create a less intimidating and more comfortable atmosphere.

3.) Create team norms: Team norms are a set of rules or guidelines a team establishes to shape the interactions of team members. Norms are usually developed early, possibly during the teams first meeting. Norms are important because they help standardize what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Every team member should agree with the norms and follow them throughout the duration the group is working together. More norms can be added to the list as the team discovers they need more guidelines further down the road.

Examples of team norms:

  • Team members will speak respectfully to each other and will not talk down to each other
  • Team members will not interrupt one another
  • Meetings will be held weekly; team members are expected to have completed their outside work
  • Decision making will be done by consensus otherwise, majority will rule
  • Conflicts will be resolved between the team members involved

4.) Actively participate: Don’t hesitate to speak up! Remember, each team member should be respectful of each other’s ideas and opinions. Creativity comes from exploring different ideas and tweaking them until they accomplish the goals of the project. Actively participating also includes making sure you are contributing to the team and your portion of the project is completed on time. The outcome of your work will impact the success of the team. They are counting on you!

5.) Monitor team progress: Many times groups will lose the main focus of the project or assignment. They get too caught up in smaller tasks and make decisions that don’t align with the overall mission and goal of the team. Teams should regularly monitor their decisions to ensure they align and support the main focus of the project.

6.)  Addressing conflict: Recognize conflict early and confront the individuals involved. By not confronting the conflict at an early stage will only allow issues to build up and create more serious problems in the future.

7.)  Challenge each other: Respectfully challenge each other’s ideas. Ask team members why they believe something should be done a certain way or why their idea is better than the rest. It is okay to disagree and explore alternative solutions. This can help energize team members and examine ideas more in depth that can help lead to the best possible outcome.

8.)  Team feedback: Feedback helps us see ourselves from the perspectives of others. Teams should give each other constructive feedback to gauge each team member’s performance. It can help team members recognize areas for improvement so they can work on improving their skills. Be open minded about feedback, don’t take it personally. It will help you become more aware of your actions and benefit you in the long run.

9.)  Empower each other: Never miss opportunities to empower team members. Show appreciation and compliment each other on a job well done. It will help boost team confidence and encourage a positive atmosphere.

10.)   Have fun: Although teamwork and team building can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding. Not only will you be exposed to learning new ideas and perspectives, but you will be able to build your personal network for future references.

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