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Team Building Concepts

Developing a Team

Central to most team building concepts is the ability to take a group of individuals with a range of strengths and create a team.

This article is part of our stages of team development series based on the STAR team model.
Whilst every team and context is different team building concepts provide a basis on which to develop your approach in developing a team. The STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four aspects (Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment andResults) are in place:

  • Individuals flourish as they use and develop their Strengths.
  • People come together building relationships that result in effective Teamwork.
  • The team leader Aligns the team through effective communication of purpose, so that individual strengths combine with teamwork to deliver the teams results.
  • Together everyone achieves more as performance flows and Results that are meaningful and rewarding to the team are achieved.

A different emphasis and focus for each of the STAR model elements is needed at different stages of the team’s development.

Team building concepts

At this stage of beginning to develop a team you will have already used team building techniquesto form the team such as:

  • Establishing the purpose of the team and agreeing the results the team needs to produce
  • Identifying the tasks needed to be fulfilled.
  • Allocating roles and responsibilities based on strengths.

Developing Teamwork

However, at this point individuals will have only just started to develop their roles and may be unclear or uncertain of how everything comes together.

Whilst during the development phase it is still important to maintain and reinforce the focus on the results the team needs to deliver (which was established in the formation phase) the primary focus in this phase should be on developing teamwork.

Working with your team to build teamwork is central to developing an effective team. To help develop a team ethos you may want to use theteamwork definition activity with you team, to build a shared understanding of what you as a team understand as teamwork. It may also be valuable to use the benefits of teamwork activity to work out how the teamwork you have defined will help deliver the results expected of the team.

In this phase team building concepts need to:

  • Build and focus on teamwork values
  • Clarify how things are done in the team
  • Identify clear roles in the team and support the team in fulfilling them
  • Encourage participation
  • Manage conflict by open fair problem solving approaches
  • Ensure communication is effective
  • Clarify individual agendas and how they fit/don’t fit with the teams goals

Dealing with Conflict

It is important to be aware of the possible negative effect that can be created by a drop in performance when confrontation occurs. Defensive behavior can detract from the team purpose. Differences may well surface between individuals during the development phase which were hidden during the start-up phase when people were getting to know each other.

Keeping the focus on teamwork and the purpose of the team are important at this stage. It is useful to have worked through with the team the idea of team development stages, and the likely way people might feel or see things at different stages. It allows you to talk about how differences might be dealt with and how agreement might be reached in the team.

One of the team building concepts which might be valuable to use is to encourage a positive view of differences. One way to do this is to balance advocacy with inquiry, or perhaps more succinctly, argue as if you are right and listen as if you are wrong.

Encourage the team to learn how to persuasively put their perspective forward as best they can, but then to listen carefully to what the others have understood of their view. Then you are starting to develop the ability to listen with the humility to agree that the others in the team may well have a different view and that their view might be a better one than yours.

The stage of developing from a group of individuals towards a team is certainly one of the more demanding team building concepts. Its main focus is to bring people together as a team and to develop teamwork. In doing so the required results of the team and what it is they are there to do need to be reinforced, whilst supporting individuals so that they identify with the group and begin to see how their strengths and those of their colleagues can come together.

Having focused on the team building concepts associated with developing the team the next step is to build a performing team.
If you do have the time to read more on this topic, why not go to our teamwork articles. To read more of about our teamwork concept – the STAR team model- see our articles teamwork theories,teamwork defined and teamwork in the workplace. For a more general introduction to team a good place to start might be to think through why is teamwork important , or you may want to think about how you define teamwork or reminding yourself of the benefits of teamwork.

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