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Twelve Tips for Team Building: How to Build Successful Work Teams

How to Make Teams Effective

People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, and my team, but few understand how to create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself. It has a lot to do with your understanding of the mission or objectives of your organization. In a team-oriented environment, you contribute to the overall success of the organization. You work with fellow members of the organization to produce these results. Even though you have a specific job function and you belong to a specific department, you are unified with other organization members to accomplish the overall objectives. The bigger picture drives your actions; your function exists to serve the bigger picture. You need to differentiate this overall sense of teamwork from the task of developing an effective intact team that is formed to accomplish a specific goal. People confuse the two team building objectives. This is why so many team building seminars, meetings, retreats and activities are deemed failures by their participants. Leaders failed to define the team they wanted to build. Developing an overall sense of team work is different from building an effective, focused work team when you consider team building approaches.
Twelve Cs for Team Building

Executives, managers and organization staff members universally explore ways to improve business results and profitability. Many view team-based, horizontal, organization structures as the best design for involving all employees in creating business success. No matter what you call your team-based improvement effort: continuous improvement, total quality, lean manufacturing or self-directed work teams, you are striving to improve results for customers. Few organizations, however, are totally pleased with the results their team improvement efforts produce. If your team improvement efforts are not living up to your expectations, this self-diagnosing checklist may tell you why. Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to each of the following.

Clear Expectations: Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for the team‟s performance and expected outcomes? Do team members understand why the team was created? Is the organization demonstrating constancy of purpose in supporting the team with resources of people, time and money? Does the work of the team receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders?

does the team have access to the help it needs? Does the team feel it has the resources. skill and capability to address the issues for which the team was formed? If not. principles. in a process improvement. commitments and results? Does the organization have a plan to increase opportunities for self-management among organization members?  Collaboration: Does the team understand team and group process? Do members understand the stages of group development? Are team members working together effectively interpersonally? Do all team members understand the roles and responsibilities of team members? team leaders? team recorders? Can the team approach problem solving.e. is each step of the process represented on the team?) Does the team feel that its members have the knowledge. vision and values? Commitment: Do team members want to participate on the team? Do team members feel the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do team members anticipate recognition for their contributions? Do team members expect their skills to grow and develop on the team? Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity? Competence: Does the team feel that it has the appropriate people participating? (As an example. process improvement. Context: Do team members understand why they are participating on the team? Do they understand how the strategy of using teams will help the organization attain its communicated business goals? Can team members define their team‟s importance to the accomplishment of corporate goals? Does the team understand where its work fits in the total context of the organization‟s goals. Has the team defined and communicated its goals. consensus decision making and meeting management? Is the team using an appropriate strategy to accomplish its action plan? . strategies and support needed to accomplish its mission?    Charter: Has the team taken its assigned area of responsibility and designed its own mission. vision and strategies to accomplish the mission. its timelines. goal setting and measurement jointly? Do team members cooperate to accomplish the team charter? Has the team established group norms or rules of conduct in areas such as conflict resolution. and how it will measure both the outcomes of its work and the process the team followed to accomplish their task? Does the leadership team or other coordinating group support what the team has designed?  Control: Does the team have enough freedom and empowerment to feel the ownership necessary to accomplish its charter? At the same time. do team members clearly understand their boundaries? How far may members go in pursuit of solutions? Are limitations (i. its anticipated outcomes and contributions. monetary and time resources) defined at the beginning of the project before the team experiences barriers and rework? Is the team‟s reporting relationship and accountability understood by all members of the organization? Has the organization defined the team‟s authority? To make recommendations? To implement its plan? Is there a defined review process so both the team and the organization are consistently aligned in direction and purpose? Do team members hold each other accountable for project timelines.

enabling organizational culture of the future is different than the traditional. . motivates and manages the people it employs?Does the organization plan to use failures for learning and support reasonable risk? Does the organization recognize that the more it can change its climate to support teams. unique solutions. appraises. plans with. empowering. access to books and films. hierarchical organization it may currently be? Is the organization planning to or in the process of changing how it rewards. hires. anyone to whom they provide a product or a service? Are cross-functional and multi-department teams common and working together effectively? Is the organization developing a customerfocused process-focused orientation and moving away from traditional departmental thinking?  Cultural Change: Does the organization recognize that the team-based. develops. the more it will receive in pay back from the work of the teams? Read more about culture change. collaborative. and field trips necessary to stimulate new thinking?  Consequences: Do team members feel responsible and accountable for team achievements? Are rewards and recognition supplied when teams are successful? Is reasonable risk respected and encouraged in the organization? Do team members fear reprisal? Do team members spend their time finger pointing rather than resolving problems? Is the organization designing reward systems that recognize both team and individual performance? Is the organization planning to share gains and increased profitability with team and individual contributors? Can contributors see their impact on increased organization success?  Coordination: Are teams coordinated by a central leadership team that assists the groups to obtain what they need for success? Have priorities and resource allocation been planned across departments? Do teams understand the concept of the internal customer—the next process. education. Communication: Are team members clear about the priority of their tasks? Is there an established method for the teams to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback? Does the organization provide important business information regularly? Do the teams understand the complete context for their existence? Do team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other? Do team members bring diverse opinions to the table? Are necessary conflicts raised and addressed?  Creative Innovation: Is the organization really interested in change? Does it value creative thinking. and new ideas? Does it reward people who take reasonable risks to make improvements? Or does it reward the people who fit in and maintain the status quo? Does it provide the training. recognizes.

unique results that grow out of your team's one-of-a-kind combination of personalities. They also know how to share leadership on a team. Leadership Excellence Teaming Up for Success Dynamic leaders know that a successful team is more than "the sum of its parts. They are effective team members who participate. It's called synergy. help individuals understand the team process. Team synergism doesn't "just happen. • Group dynamics • Stages of teams • Team roles • Leading groups through change • Collaboration and communities Leadership Achievement A team is more than just a group of individuals. Dynamic leaders set the stage for team success by providing information and a positive atmosphere." Dynamic leaders learn to guide teams through the following stages to success. and gather resources. Build Teams for Leadership Achievement You can be a dynamic leader who builds teams that accomplish the most they possibly can. A team works together to achieve shared goals. They empower team members to share leadership. Teamwork is joint action by a group of people who put the team's vision above their own benefit. dynamic leaders become followers. As dynamic team builders. You can learn to take and share leadership while encouraging teamwork. Members of a team: • Share a goal • Cooperate • Accept one another • Accept differences • Are united. . Dynamic leaders know how to build teams.TEAM BUILDING FOR LEADERS Dynamic leaders know how to build groups into teams. something special happens. They lead team-building activities. young people gain and apply knowledge in: • Types of teams in families. ideas. and show loyalty to the team." When people work together toward a shared vision. When other team members have the skills and knowledge to take the lead. carry out responsibilities. and energies. careers.

and known by other team members. you can help the team define and remember its shared vision. • Communication Guide your team to agree on basic ground rules for communication. Spend time as a team getting to know one another's interests and talents. • Norming: choosing ways to work together and figuring out group roles. Groups experience the stages in any order and sometimes invent new ones! Dynamic leaders expect and guide teams through changes. The team's most valuable strength is team members' diversity of experiences. • Celebrations • Build Build team spirit by celebrating achievements and the team itself. • Conflict Management All teams have differences and differences are likely to lead to disagreements. Help all members see that each individual has talents. Key Elements of Team Building • Connections It's not enough to call your group a "team. you motivate team members to work . you need to help each team member feel recognized. • Common Purpose Teams work together to achieve a common purpose. • Performing: working smoothly together. ideas. or information needed to reach the shared vision. valued. Teams for Leadership Excellence You can be a dynamic leader who excels in building successful teams.Forming: learning about one another and defining the shared vision. Through dynamic team leadership. and cooperation. learn ways to deal with differences while maintaining respect among individuals and commitment to the team's vision. Each team member needs to feel that he or she has something unique to contribute to the team and also that the team has something to offer in return. encouragement. and keeping minutes of decisions that are made. skills. As team leader. limiting interruptions. and knowledge. • Commitment Your team must commit to working together to achieve success. • Storming: working through disagreements. As team leader. The rules should include listening to one another. • Community Create a team atmosphere based on trust. experiencing synergy." To build a real team.

and file that sucker away.Label it. a friend refusing to loan you a scarf. a person in your life who is trying to exert some control of some small portion of their world. you can forget about it." These labels give you a way to see the act of pettiness for what it is and thus help to keep from them from getting under your skin. and since it's been filed away. leaving people in a constant state of frustration. do your best to put some kind of mental label on it. Ask yourself why they are doing what they are doing and if you yourself might react in such ways were you to be in their shoes. There is nothing more to do or say about it. once you've filed that bit of pettiness away in your imaginary drawer. 4 .Recognize it. It's filed away. After labeling the act of pettiness. you don't have to worry about it being lost to history. search for the appropriate folder. These five helpful tips on how to rise above the pettiness can help anyone interested find a path to individual peace and happiness. Whatever comes to mind will do. But it doesn't have to be this way. Also. You can safely erase the incident from your mind. thus relieving you of the burden of carrying it around with all those others that have been weighing you down. is to recognize it when it comes into your life. The first thing you need to do to help you rise above the simple pettiness in life.Forget it. 5 . See it for what it is. It's these small things that when added together start to become big things that cause people's anxiety levels to not only rise. but to stay high. These five tips on how to rise above the pettiness." or "husband that I do still love grasping at straws.Rising above pettiness One of the more stress inducing things in life is when people let themselves get caught up in small things that don't really matter. it wouldn't hurt to try to recognize when it's you that is being petty. Once you've recognized an act of pettiness. . 3 . even if it sounds silly to you.Put it in a better place. labels such as "nasty neighbor strikes again. This will give you a feeling of having done something about the act of pettiness which will help you to avoid feeling irritated. or a spouse quietly keeping score on who cleans the kitty litter box more often. Once you recognize what you're seeing as a petty act. There are things you can do to keep from getting all tangled up in the small things. safe in its little cabinet. Also. Whether it's someone hiding the coffee creamer in the break room. can help virtually anyone who finds themselves carrying around the resentment of a thousand petty deeds they see as having been committed against them. irritation or depression.Analyze it. think about the person who is doing it. Irritated 1 . 2 . Finally. open up an imaginary file cabinet in your mind. ask yourself if there is anything you can do about what you've just witnessed.

Like most people. Don’t forget about non-compete. 10. Yet this is a common mistake. and both should take detailed notes. all compensation owed must be paid on the day of discharge. As an employer. To you. Make sure that all monies due to the employee are paid immediately. look everywhere documents concerning the employee may exist. “There may be perfectly good reasons for treating employees who seem similarly situated differently. Conduct the termination respectfully. Many people and documents are typically involved in discharge decisions. and you need to consider these differences in advance. “There is nothing wrong with creating such documents—in fact. including the files. Create new documents. severance. 4. “An employer gives a false reason for termination. Be sure that what you tell the employee agrees with your previous oral and written statements. But never make things up on or backdate the documents you create. offers 10 tips for handling terminations and avoiding lawsuits. says Bucking.” Bucking writes. 9. “But most discrimination allegations turn not on direct evidence (like racial slurs). blogging on HR Fact Finder. you have broad authority to compel employees to talk to you. especially on the reason for your action. respectful. That‟s likely to lead to a lawsuit. says Bucking. employers hate confrontation and hard truths.‟” he says. Two people should be present at the termination. electronic records. Talk to supervisors. Don’t lie. Don’t be cruel. creating the inference that the real reason was unlawful. but on „pretext. 3. “Sometimes the problem with a termination is that there are few documents supporting your decision. partner and co-head of the Employment Department at Foley Hoag LLP in Boston. and make sure they . so firing for poor performance is often disguised as a layoff. Here‟s some of what he says. 2. and decent as possible. 7. 1.” Bucking says. and e-mails of the supervisor and everyone else involved. behindthe-scenes process.” 6. and other agreements. and especially a jury. Know the Facts. as this brings things under attorney/client privilege.Steps before Termination Expert James W. co-workers and subordinates. Be especially wary of “stellar” performance reviews. Bucking. Record anything material that the employeesays. Make sure you live up to any obligations to departing employees. Don‟t fire in public. Have backup. Instead. Have an attorney involved at all stages. it is a good idea. but there‟s no way to avoid an employee taking it as personal. Beware the electronic scourge. “The worst thing to do when terminating an employee is to be dishonest as to why. Also review the disciplinary records of other employees in the same job or area. non-disclosure. If an attorney is not involved. 5. a termination may be just business. then avoid creating a permanent electronic record. and today‟s technology preserves every bit of the “untidy. Pay all compensation. and make a record of what they tell you. 8. Speak with the employee involved because it‟s a lot better to know his or her story at the time of termination than to hear it first at a deposition.” Litigation discovery can reveal it for the world to see. Review ALL the documents. Bucking advises.” Bucking says. be as private.” he says. and also what you say. Take advantage of this right. In many states. says Bucking. where “coldheartedness does not play well before a judge. Also.

.understand any obligations they owe you. Bucking also suggests considering new agreements such as a release from legal action based on the termination.