Teambuilding is one of those gigantic topics that promises a better tomorrow, but it is so.... fluffy. So, I decided to help you get started by creating a downloadable agenda / template that goes in line with the best practices and highlight how to incorporate a team building spirit in your daily routines – it’s quite easy, lasting, profitable and cheaper than you think.
The do's and dont's of team building
One of the main points of team building activities is to make the individuals who forms it understand themselves and their colleagues better to establish harmony and a sense of belongingness within the team. If done right, your team members will feel more comfortable to share ideas, decrease stress level and thus tension among team members and lastly establish a sense of unity among team members that will be aligned toward one goal or mission.
The downside to teambuilding is that its effects do not last that long and it will bite a chunk out of your budget spending. Most often the meeting is more like a daylong workshop where your whole team is gathered somewhere outside of the firm … not working.
According to a study conducted by Hatch and Mccarthy (2003) shows that indeed your team get positive and super charged.... for about 2 months and then everything will go back to the “normal pace”. Studies like the one mentioned, established that team building needs to be viewed as an ongoing and continuous process rather than a onetime thing. I will get to this in my concluding statements at the end of this blog.
To begin planning your session you would need a good set up for the day and an agenda that goes with it to maximize on your efforts specially with the cost factor in mind. It is important to physically state the purpose of the meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. Set a supportive tone and highlight wins and strategic gains the team has achieved and how this achievement, in its totality, effects the assigned team quota, KPIs or other metrics. If you had a teambuilding activity before, revisit the decisions you took then and try to either build on them or create new ones.
Allow your team to reflect
As for activities it is important to look at your team and understand it better as well as give the team the opportunity to understand each other and themselves. For instance, if you have a diverse team this could lead to tension – it's good to teach them about each other's cultures and let people speak about how they would like to be treated at work. Ask everyone: “How would you like to receive positive feedback?” and follow up by “How would you like to receive negative feedback and by whom?”. In the agenda template you will find additional tips on what would serv both you and your team well when it comes to activities.
When the activities have been held, it is good to follow it up with allowing your team to reflect on who they want to be as a team and provide the definitive statements. How would your team define their team values, team mission and performance indicators. The team values are the characteristics that your team would live by and consider when treating each other.
Their mission should not be a company related one rather it should be something that would affect the team dynamic. The last point is just as important, performance indicators is answering the question “How do we know that we have succeeded?”. Examples of these have been provided for you in the downloadable team building meeting template as well so check it out to get started.
But upholding the team spirit and focus on the full effort of the team is one this – but everyone needs to pull their load, so I have included one last agenda item named “Ensuring the future success of the team”. Here, the idea is to give your team 4-6 minutes to think about how to improve as a team member individually. They write this down on a note and simply use them to remind themselves of their responsibility to the team
As for making the team building a process it does not encompass a teambuilding meeting every other month. Rather, just incorporate small adjustment to your day that help you stay on top of your teambuilding decisions.
Here are a few tips:
- Allow your team to be creative and try new things. Give them some room to fail, learn and try again.
- Take team problems or tension seriously. There are always those 2 people in the team that just won't get along due to personal or character related reasons. Sit down with them individually, let them vent and then try to mediate – HR is typically the department who knows how to do this! Ask them for help if necessary.
- Try to have some fun with your team. Wait until working hours is over and invite them out to a restaurant or maybe bowling? You could always have a vote about this, or you could use the element of surprise and just mention a light team activity in 1 month or so.
- Are you a micromanager? Just know that the message you send when you micromanage is that you don’t believe in your team and so you need to manage every detail of their day and get things done “your way”. Drop your guard, let the team take some responsibility instead.
- Remember that the one of the best ways to reward your team is by showing appreciation. Recognition and feedback for their success and best of all this is more effective than monetary incentives in most cases.
- Lastly, you need to facilitate communication between you and the team. A widely recognized way to do so is to apply an “open-door policy”. If you sit in an office and you are available keep the door open to signify to your team that you have the time to listen to them. Let them step in and address anything on their mind.
There you go! A full-blown topic broken down to you in a digestible format that you can execute tomorrow already! Download the teambuilding template below and get started !