Every manager or team leader knows the importance of having a smooth functioning team. But today’s work environment continues to grow complex. These pose challenges to keep employees motivated and in sync.
The solution? “Team Building”
What is team building?
Imagine a deadline for your team coming up. An important project needs to be tuned in. In an ideal scenario, all members are able to plan and allocate the work to each other, and complete the assignment while supporting each other. But in the real world, Employee ‘A’ and ‘B’ don’t speak to each other and ‘C’ wants the same task as ‘D’. At a different table, ‘E’ does not trust ‘F’ and ‘G’ to do their job the correct way tries to micromanage everything while poor ‘H’ is new to the team and does not know who to seek help from. ‘I’ does not care about the deadline entirely. The result? Chaos and a very confused output.
This is where team-building helps.
Simply put, team building involves efforts made to turn a group of individuals into an integrated team. To get them to work like a well-oiled, purposeful machine. Some of this takes place every day, when employees have lunch together, play a game of Table Tennis or go for a coffee break.
To push this further, managers need to organize structured team-building activities.
The manager or the Team Leader can deliberately create opportunities to improve the team’s coordination. And to help new employees gel with others. For this, Managers can get another Senior employee or an HR manager to organize meetings and sessions focused on understanding other members’ strengths and weaknesses and charting common objectives for the group.
Employers could complement formal sessions with fun activities too, like picnics, lunches, the occasional party and team games.
With more employers recognizing the importance of team building, there are now organizations that focus entirely on providing this support function to teams. The benefit of outsourcing such responsibilities is that external agencies will provide an unbiased opinion on what they perceive. They conduct research, and develop activities specifically to cater to the Team-building and learning needs of varied teams.
External facilitators may be called in, to office sites, to conduct workshops, games, brainstorming sessions, etc.
Though more often than not, facilitators organize off-site activities. Taking employees out of the office environment and amidst nature helps put their mind at ease and make them more open to learning. It also feels more like a fun break rather than another task to be completed.
Teams could go in for programs that are built around Adventure activities like rappelling, rock climbing, rafting and obstacle courses. Sessions begin with a brief introduction. The facilitator observes the participants as they perform the given tasks. And at the end of the program, gives them feedback based on these observations.
Or if the participants are already pretty wound up from a tiring week, it would be best to take the session to a plush resort, and keep it light with easy games.
The most important aspect of hiring an external facilitator is asking the right questions of potential candidates. Here is a guide on How to select an outbound training partner.
Define a clear plan
Focused, well-planned team-building programs go beyond being just ice-breakers- they help develop confidence, leadership, decision-making abilities, boost motivation and most importantly, build trust. Also, remember that Team building is an ongoing, never-ending process. So make sure you follow up every session with a clear plan for future sessions as well and keep track of progress in the workplace.
To give you an idea, here are some team-building activities for you to try!
We understand how essential it is that your team functions as a healthy, wholesome unit. So we’ve tied up with some of the best facilitators to organize focused, yet fun team building programs around the country. And we are happy to help your team out with any and every learning objective!
For more methods to improve your team’s performance, browse through multitudes of posts on Employee engagement, productivity and performance.