Your team sometimes performs well, but some other times, they’re struggling. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed because they won’t stop complaining about each other or fighting amongst themselves. You’re tired of playing referee and wish they could get along. You may be considering team-building activities or engaging a team-building expert to help you. If you’ve tried those things – my guess is that they worked for some time, and then you found yourself in the same place after some time. So, what can you do?
It may sound like I’m anti-team building, but I would like to clarify that I am all for team building. I think it’s one of the most important investments managers can make. In this blog, I want to share some aspects of team building that often don’t get discussed when managers think about team building. Actually, in my view, these suggestions will create a fundamental difference in your team-building agenda.
1. Team building means building team skills
Effective teamwork requires some basic team skills; enabling them to develop the knowledge and skills to work in teams will help them be more effective. They can learn some tools and frameworks and practice applying them to real-life situations. Like any new skill, it will be a bit bumpy at first, and people can get better at it, especially with practice and feedback. Therefore, if there is no skill-building happening during your team building, it is unlikely that you will see any sustainable impact.
2. Create psychological safety for effective team building
One of the essential skills for you as a leader in creating psychological safety for your team. Creating psychological safety means building a team environment where honest conversations are possible, especially without passing judgment, ridiculing, or threatening a team member. People are more likely to feel hurt or insecure if there is an environment of judgment, pointing fingers, or blaming each other. Employees also feel unappreciated during feedback sessions and think they are highlighting their incompetence while accepting mistakes or asking for help; they may also not take responsibility or share ideas if the environment in the team is not safe for them. Therefore, creating psychological safety is critical to building teams. As a manager, learn how to create psychological safety for your team members and encourage your team to have an open dialogue with each other without any fear of retribution.
3. Team building works- When you use self-accountable communication
Self-accountable communication is taking charge of the deliverables and holding yourself accountable for actions that will enable the team to achieve goals. This way, each team member learns how they can contribute to organizational success. Self-accountable communication helps team members see what is in their control and how they can influence others for meaningful collaboration, and it orients the team toward solutions.
4. Effective team building includes being specific with communication
It is about expressing yourself in a way that compels a person to listen to you and become willing to take actions that will help the team get results. Upskilling your team with STATE: Share your facts. Tell your story. Ask for others’ paths. Talk tentatively. The first three letters are “what to do,” and the last two are “how to do it.” This is a guaranteed way to reduce negativity in the team and increases personal accountability.
5. Make team building part of your routine
Find a way to keep the concepts and practices of team building on top of mind. Because team building is not an activity, it is a journey. You cannot do it all by yourself; it is a partnership with your team members. One of the best ways to make it a routine is to get mentored and coached on this topic and have your team members coached as well.
Coaching is an increasingly popular form of learning on the job because team building and modifying behavior are not just event-driven – they are journeys of personal growth and development. Coaching helps grow self-awareness, thus putting an individual in the driver’s seat regarding how one is showing up.
If you need support in a team-building initiative or want training on this subject to improve the performance and bonding of your team, write to me.