Many managers rely on serendipity to create effective teams. At times this creates excellent teams who in turn produce amazing results. Fantastic teams which jell, think creatively together and become a force to be reckoned with. They often seem to grow out of nowhere. Managers enjoy the benefits without understanding how they could create the conditions to ensure great team working in all situations.

Relying on chance means that for the most part managers fail to maximize the potential resource a great team can offer. Choosing the right team building activities can make a substantial difference to how effectively your people work together.

1)     Make time for team building rather than project development. Spending even a relatively short period of time on team BUILDING activities enhances understanding of the strength of working as a team. It offers a fantastic opportunity to deepen a sense of belonging to the organisation and to communicate the strategic vision within the team.

2)     Good team behaviour should be modelled by all managers and expected from all team members.

3)     Team building activities should ensure that members of the team have the opportunity to share their views and feelings in a safe environment where their opinion is valued and mutual respect is encouraged.

4)     Team building activities which encourage the team to take responsibility for finding their own solutions encourage true ownership and cement relationships.

5)     The strongest teams know individually their strengths and weaknesses and those of their colleagues. They work actively to make the most of the strengths of the team and ensure that weaknesses are addressed. Team building activities should inform this process. The central principle is that the collective team is so much stronger than that of the individuals.

6)     Use team building activities to identify a collective language understood by everyone. This maximizes effective communication and minimizes misunderstanding. “What do we mean by high expectations?” “What does excellent mean in —- context?” “How will we know when we have succeeded?” can elicit great discussion and generate a shared understanding.

7)     Team building activities should have a clear purpose, the team should value them and see them as a productive use of time. A great starting point could be “What do you really enjoy about your job and why? “What if anything gets in the way? “ What can we do as a team to make things even better?

8)     Challenging issues can be tackled through team building activities but it is important not to score points, make someone feel isolated or picked on.

9)     Team Building activities can be really enjoyable too. The learning should be powerful and fun too.

Your team represents a valuable resource, are you making the most of yours? Surely it is worth the investment of some time and carefully thought out team building activities to ensure you nurture, and develop the full potential of your staff.

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