1. Why Team Building is a Dead End***.
Your team is probably a loose business alliance and it’s killing performance.
So what’s wrong with team building? Nothing, if you believe that taking a bunch of employees off-site to bond, play games, and do various complex simulations will create more trust, elevate openness, and improve overall team communication.
What’s the tangible, true value of the team building experience to the organization?
When employees spend more time together potentially good things can happen.
Let’s examine the potential impact in terms of performance and productivity.
• Will team building resolve interpersonal conflicts or remove hidden agendas?
• Will unspoken leaders become aligned with existing leadership?
• Will team members actually trust each other more back in the workplace resulting in a heightened sense of belonging?
• Will the excitement of the experience carry over into team tasks creating greater harmony among members?
• Will team leaders set new standards for communication and openness?
• Will there be a measurable impact on performance and productivity?
• Will team members become more competent or grow personally, and therefore be more valuable to the organization?
• Will team members become more loyal to the organization?
Team building exercises have become the latest craze for creating high performing teams. But what is the actual value that they are bringing back into the workplace? What is the residual benefit ninety days later to the team and the organization?
The typical goals of team building are to improve how the individual team members work together. On paper, simulations and different team exercises would seem to be helpful in that regard. But what sticks and what works? Does it make a real difference in actual team performance? Can it withstand the bright lights of the organization’s bottom- line?
Is the value actually measurable in real dollars or productivity enhancements?
2. Teams Suffer When Unspoken Leaders Run the Team.
Who is the true team leader? Who is really setting the tone and ultimately in charge of the team? When team members with hidden agendas influence others, team goals suffer. When one person of influence decides that they are more important than the team, the team will struggle, and an undercurrent of back-biting will predominate. Trust cannot exist in an atmosphere of every person for themselves.
Unspoken leaders can also be a positive influence, but frequently will result in ego conflicts over who is more important, or more right. It can become a competition. No one wins the battle of egos. The team is lost in conflicted alliances when team members have to take sides supporting their particular favorite. You can imagine the quality of productivity and performance in this scenario.
Ultimately, unspoken leaders need to be identified and utilized if the team is to be united and performance optimized.
Who are the unspoken leaders of your team?
3. Team Dynamics Change Whether You Want Them to or Not.
Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine. ~Robert C. Gallagher
Everything is changing. Your team is either growing together, or becoming more separate. The team members trusting each other more or trust is eroding. Productivity and performance of the team and individual members do not stay the same.
One of the biggest mistakes that leaders make is in believing that when something is working well, to leave it alone. In reality, it requires consistent effort in order for things to stay the same. If left alone, they will naturally decline over time from benign neglect.
If your business is going well, and you leave it alone, what will happen? If your intimate relationship is going great and you do nothing, what will happen? Will things get better?
Effort has to occur in any situation or relationship in order to maintain the status quo and a team is no different.
Individual team members will come under stress for limitless personal reasons that may impact the dynamics of the team. Friendships can change. Close alliances can end. People come and go. The organizational pressures also create stress that influences team behavior.
How will you address the changing dynamics of your team?
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