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Team building is a wide range of activities that are presented to business, sports, schools, religions or even NPOs to ensure improvements performance in teams. Team building is usually done through several activities and practices, which can range from simple bonding exercise to complicated simulations along with multi-day team building retreats that are designed with the aim of developing a particular team, usually falling somewhere in between. This practice in most cases sits within theories along with practices of organizational development.
However, it can also be applied in to sports teams, groups in schools, as well as other contexts. Team building practices need not to be confused with what is referred to as team recreation, which consists of activities for teams that are mainly recreational. In most cases, team building is considered as a very important factor in any environment (DeSimone Et al. 2002). Its concentration is to specialize in bringing out the best from a certain team, as to ensure self development, positive communication practices, leadership skills as well as the capability of working closely together as a team to problem solving.
Different literatures have stated that, work environment in most cases concentrates on individual and personal objectives, with regard and recognition singling out the achievements that individual employees have attained. "How to create effective teams is a challenge in every organization." In other words, team building also means the processes that are used in the selection and of teams from scratch.
Team Building Exercise and Purpose
The exercises involved in team building consists of a variety of tasks that are designed with the aim of developing group members as well as their capability of working together effectively and efficiently. There exist several types of team building activities that range from kid games to games involving novel complex tasks; however, they are designed for specific needs (Field & Ford, 1995). There also exist complex team building activities that are composed of multiple exercises like rope courses, corporate drumming, as well as exercises that might last for several days. The main objective of team building exercises is for helping teams to become human units that are much cohesive for them to work together effectively to complete tasks.
Types of Team Building Exercises
The first type is communication exercise. This type of exercise is just as it sounds. Communication exercises involve problem solving practices that are geared towards upgrading communication skills. Most of the issues encountered in such practices are in most cases solved through effective communication among the members (Foley, 2000). The main objective of this activity is to come up with an activity that addresses the significance of good communication in team performance and /or potential problems with communication.
Another type of team building activity includes problem solving, also known as decision making exercise. This exercise concentrates specifically on groups that are working together to deal with difficult, or come up with complex solutions. Such like exercises are the most common exercises as they appear to be having the most direct link, to what most of the employers are looking for to be incorporated in their working force (Noe, 2005). The main goal of this exercise is to provide the participants with a problem whose solution is not easily apparent, or it might require the team to with solutions that are much creative.
The next exercise is planning also called adaptability exercise. These exercises concentrates on concepts that deal with planning as well as being able to adapt to different environmental climates, that are changing every now and then, due to political instability din the country. "These are important things for teams to be able to do when they are assigned complex tasks." Or even complex circumstances. The main object of this type of exercise is to show the significance of planning before implementing any solution or recommendation.
The last but not least type of team building exercise is trust exercise. This exercise on the other hand involves engagement of team members in a manner that induces trust between them. Some time, the practices are difficult to engage in, or even implement. This is based on the fact that there are varying levels of trust that exist between individuals, as well as varying degrees of personal comforts trusting others generally (Rigg Et al. 2007). The main goal of such like exercises of is the creation of trust between team members.
Tips for Team Building
It is true that, individuals at work place keep on talking about team building, working together as a team, however, it is only a few of them that really understands the creation as well as the experience gained from team work, or even how to come up and develop one that is much effective. Belonging to a team, looking at it in the broadest point of view, should be the essence of feeling being part and parcel of something that is much larger than oneself (Achua & Lussier, 2007). It has a lot of things to do with somebody's understanding of the mission, vision and objectives of that particular group that one belongs in.
Fit need to be noticed that, team oriented environment, every individual who happens to be a member, needs to contribute to the overall success of that particular group. But how many individuals do that, or how many groups allow that? If though individuals might be having specific job functions and belongs to specific departments, done needs to know that is unified with other team members for the accomplishment of the overall goal of the organization or group. The larger picture need to be the one that drives actions in an organization' as someone's function exists to serve the larger picture.
In group building, it is much essential to differentiate between the overall sense of teamwork from the task of coming up with an effective and intact team, that is build to attain certain goals or objectives. As effect, on the ground, individuals tent to confused two team building objectives. As a result, this is the reasons as to why so many team building seminars, meetings, retreats as well as activities are deemed to be failures in the society by those who usually participate in them. It is true that leaders of such group activities fail to define the team that they desired to build (Larry, 1991). The process of developing an overall sense of team work is far much different from the process of building an effective, focused work team, when considering team building approaches.
Different Cs for Team building
Executives, managers as well as the organization staff members, have to universally engage in the process of exploring different ways of improving business results along with profitability. Many individuals look at team-based, horizontal organization structures as being the best design for involving all the employees in the creation of business successes. But the fact is, no matter the name given to one's team-based improvement effort; continuous improvement, total quality, lean manufacturing or even self directed work teams, every body need to strive at improving the results for the benefit of customers of one's organization (Heathfield, 2010). It is true but disappointing to note that, only few organizations are however totally pleased with the results of their team improvement efforts produce. It should be noted that, if one's team improvement efforts are not living to one's expectations, this self diagnosing list of check, may tell the reasons as to why. Some successful team building, that ends up creating effective, focused work teams, in most cases need attention to each one of the following:
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Clear expectations; the executive leadership needs to clearly communicate its expectations for the performance of the team, along with the expected outcomes. Team members on the other hand need to understand the reason as ton why the group was formed. In addition, the organization needs to demonstrate constancy of purpose in providing support to the team with resources of time, individuals, as well as finances. The work that is performed by the team, need to receive sufficient emphasis as a major priority in terms of time, attention, discussions well as interest directed its way by the executive leaders.
Context; team members should have an understanding as to why they are taking part in the team, in such a way, they will have an understanding effects of team strategy in helping the organization in attaining it communicated business objectives and goals. As an effect, the team members ought to define their team's significance to the attainment of the corporate goals and objectives. To attain this, the team members need to understand where its work fits in the total context of different goals, principles, vision as well as values of the organization.
Commitment; there is need for the members of the team to take part in the teams activities fully, as this will make team members to be more committed to the attainment of the mission and outcome expectations of the team. In so doing, the team members will perceive their services pas much valuable to the organization as well as their own careers. This in one way or the other will make the make the team members to anticipate for the recognition for their contributions (Heathfield, 2011). It should be noted by team members that, their participation will enhance the growth of their skills and experience on the team. After this realization, team members will then be excited and challenged by the team opportunity.
Competence is another C; it will be good if the team feels that it has the appropriate individuals taking part in it, for instance, in the process improvement, each step of the operation need to represent in the team. The team should feel that, its members should have the necessary knowledge, skills and capabilities to address the issues for which the team was formed to address. In case this is not there, the team ought to have an access to the help it requires. The team should feel that, it has been given the necessary, strategies and support that it requires fin order to accomplish the assigned responsibility.
Charter; fit is the responsibility of the team to take the assigned area of responsibility and design its own mission, vision as well as the strategies that will be much helpful in the attainment of the overall mission and objective. It is always good for the team to define and co9mmunicate its objectives, its anticipated results as well as its report contribution, its timelines, and the procedure it will employ in measuring its results of its work as well as the processes along with operations followed by the team to accomplish its tasks. The leadership team or any other group charged with the responsibility of coordinating group activities should at all times support all what the team has designed.
Control; the team at all times need to be given the necessary freedom and as well as the empowerment so that it can feel the ownership that is much necessary for it to accomplish its charter. At the same juncture, the team members should clearly understand their limits or boundaries. This will in one way or the other determine the extent at which the team can go in pursuit of solutions, determine its limitations like in terms of time and monitory resources, that was defined at the initial stages of the project, before the team experiences barriers as well as the rework. The team's reporting relationship as well as accountability should be understood by all members of the organization. This is because; the organization defined the team's authority, to make recommendation, as well complimenting its plan. It holds more water if all there will be a defined process of reviewing both the organization and the team consistently and aligned to the purpose and in direction. Every team member should hold each other accountable for project timelines, commitments and results. As an effect, the organization should have plans for increasing the opportunities for self management among organization members.
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Collaboration; the team should be in a position of understanding the team as well as the group process. Members need to be in a position of understanding group stages involved in group development. This will enable them to work interpersonally together effectively. All team members are acquainted with the duties and responsibilities [charged to each team member as well as to the group as a whole. They should know the responsibilities of team leaders as well as the team recorders to avoid confusion and mixing of responsibilities.
The team ought to be in a position of solving problems, process improvement, and project measurement techniques. This will encourage cooperation among group members to accomplish the group charter. The team should establish team norms and rules of conduct that will be used for governing like conflict resolution, consensus decision making along with meeting management. This will enable the team to use appropriate strategy to accomplish its action plan.
Communication; the team members should always be clear about the priority of their tasks. This will enable the team to establish proper methods that will be used during feedback giving, as well as receiving honest performance feedback. The organization on its part needs to provide important business data regularly, enabling the team to understand the complete context of its existence. The team members should also be in a position of communicating clearly and honestly with each other. This in one way or the other help members top provide diversified opinions to the table for discussions and conclusions, which will end up addressing necessary conflicts.
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Creative Innovations; the organization should in one way or the other show that it really want change. This will enable the team to realize that the company needs creative thinking, solutions that are unique and also new ideas. The organization as a result rewards individuals who reasonably risks coming up with improvements, other than victimizing them. It should reward these who fit in and maintain the status quo. Never the less, it should provide training education, as well as providing access to learning materials like books and films, along with field trips that will stimulate new thinking.
Consequences; all team members need to feel responsible and accountable for team achievements. To enhance this attitude, rewards should be awarded whenever the team becomes successful], in addition, this will also be achieved if reasonable risks are respected and encouraged in the organization. Though the reward supply ought to be encouraged by the organization, the rewarding system ought to be in a position of recognizing both team as well as individual performances. "Do team members fear reprisal?" the team members need not to waste their time pointing fingers at each other instead of resolving problems. It will be encourage if the organization will be willing to share gains and the increased profitability wit team along with individual contributors, as for the contributors to be motivated, they ought to see their impact don the increased organization success.
Coordination; though there are different systems of coordination in teamwork, but there need to be a central leadership team that will be assisting the group to get what they require for their success. This central body will ensure priorities and resource allocation have been planned across all departments. In support of this, teams ought to understand the aspect of internal customer serving- as the next process, anybody to whom they provide products or even services. To accelerates this, cross-functional along with multi-departmental groups need to work need to work together as one, in developing customer focused, process-focused orientation , as the move away from traditional departmental thinking.
Cultural change is the last but not least C involved in team building. The organizations or even societies need to recognize that the team-focused, "empowering, enabling organizational culture of the future is different than the traditional, hierarchical organization it may currently be." The organization need to be having plans on how to recruit its employees, along with how to reward, plan development, how it carries out motivation practices, and how it manages individuals they employ. It is good for the organization to determine if will be using failures for learning as well as supporting reasonable risks (Van Dijk & Phoads, 2007). The organization should also look forward on how to change its climate towards supporting teams, as this will increase the payback from them. When more time is spend in looking at such tips to ensure effective and efficient team's contribution to business successes.
A team that is well managed forms the cornerstone of success in any organization. The success of a team appears if and only if team members are in good terms, able to accomplish something tangible, by working together as a group other than working as individuals. It should be taken that, the success and the progress of a team, is the responsibility that is charged to every team member, regardless of the hierarchy. Being in a group, has nothing to do with the dissolution of somebody's individualism, though helps in build in g the identity by addressing somebody's strength as well as potentialities.
The basis of team building is based on effective communication. however, the co-existence can be achieved by having by engaging in team building practices, which are fun-filled with the aim of attaining goals by making work far much enjoyable as well as gratifying , though there has to be consistency, to ensure that individuals are not taking it as time and effort wastage (Cardy Et al. 2009). The aim of team building in most cases is to encourage members with expertise in certain areas contribute to the objectives of teams. Lack of harmony in a team makes individual opinions and ideas, which might lead to conflicts. In addition, the absence of co-ordination between diversified personalities is one of the biggest factors that might lead to failure at work place. For the effective team management, certain pointers ought to be in place, for instance, responsibility division between members and be much clear about roles; this effectively avoids confusion (Andrejev, 2006).
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The process of decision making should also not be left top management alone; the entire team should whenever possible. This in one was or the other ensures, better productivity, absence of trust and belonging among members. Team building helps in boosting self-confidence as well as moral of the involved individuals. The show of appreciation as well as giving timely feedback, also motivate employees. It is good to notice that, teams are never static; they grow and change with time. Effective team management recognizes each member's strong qualities and mobilizes them to work together.