What is the definition of team building?
Team building is the process of using daily interaction, activities and exercises to organize a group of people into a cooperative and cohesive group.
Three ways to build teams
Building a strong team is an ongoing process that managers consistently facilitate and guide to maintain and improve. Here are three effective ways to build an uplifting and constructive team:
Establish trust and respect among members
Trust within a team means everyone can rely on each other to make the right decisions and complete their assigned work, and each person believes their colleagues will act with the betterment of the team in mind. Team members showing respect in the form of emotional intelligence and self-awareness fosters a safe, comfortable working environment.
For successful collaboration, create a space to share for people to ideas, experiment and potentially fail. When people feel respected and safe to express themselves around others, they are more likely to share ideas. Also, some team members may be more willing to take risks when they have the support of their teammates to see an idea through.
Additionally, a team that has trust and respect can function well when a manager or team leader is not present.
Related: How to Manage Employees
One way to create a sense of dependability is to set ground rules. When employees have clear rules of engagement and procedures to follow they communicate more openly and act more professionally. These rules could include anything from procedures for managing and monitoring deadlines, communication with colleagues or work style.
Holding weekly or even daily team meetings help build dependability. Frequent meetings make employees feel seen and heard, and let them receive support on projects, provide support to team members and hold each other accountable. This increases the chances that people will ask for help and assist others.
Strengthen helpful communication
How your team communicates will directly affect their ability to bond and grow together. Open communication and sharing constructive feedback helps teams reach goals and expectations more efficiently. It also creates a level of transparency that builds trust and increases morale. It’s important that open communication and transparency exist between team members and between the team and its manager.
Helpful communication includes verbal, written and non-verbal. For verbal communication, always focus on solutions for problems. When writing emails or notes, make sure voice is positive, encouraging and constructive. Using open body language and giving full attention to a speaker shows consideration for their ideas.
Team building opportunities
Creating bonds within your team enables members to effectively accomplish company goals and produce better work. How you choose to facilitate team building is your decision, but consider these ways to incorporate it into your workplace:
Natural team building occurs through daily interactions at work. When ground rules and working condition norms are set, then teams know how to appropriately communicate with the rest of the team and the organization. When everyone understands how to properly follow procedures, policies and interaction guidelines, trust and dependency grow.
The next step to building a team bond is internal facilitation, which is where teams use a fellow employee to facilitate a team building session. Usually, the facilitator is a team leader or department manager. These sessions could be a series of "get to know you" meetings to help employees develop relationships. They could also include structured activities like team building games, or team lunches, sporting events and picnics.
External facilitation is very similar to internal, except an outside person comes into your business to run structured activities. The facilitator will work with a team leader or group of employees to design activities customized to the needs of the team. Personalized team building activities have a much greater impact than generalized ones. Activities may include ice breakers, games, group brainstorms and other tasks. External facilitators ensure you meet the specific goals you have for each session and provide you with tools to continue using lessons from the activities in everyday work.
Frequently asked questions about team building
Here are answers to a commonly asked question about team building:
How do I choose the right team building activity for my team?
To choose the right activities for your team building, consider the following factors:
- Team demographics: Gender, age-range and culture may dictate what activities are more enjoyable for your team than others. Activities that fit all ages and genders work for any group.
- How big your team is: Some activities work better with larger teams like an entire company, while some are better suited for close-knit groups.
- How much fun you want to include: Effective team building should be enjoyable, but maintain structure so teams understand an activity’s underlying theme and purpose.
- Your employee’s personalities: Employees exhibit different levels of openness. Consider how shy or outgoing your team members are and choose activities that everyone can feel comfortable trying. Team building should challenge individuals but always encourage them.