No effective team ever got to where it was without a little pain and consternation. It can be a rocky road to true team development, so you should be prepared for certain obstacles. Without practice and insight, however, you’ll encounter the same obstacles and more without improving. The Xpeerience Group is a Toronto team building group that specializes in getting past these road blocks to build focused, competent teams. It’s identified the following three issues, and recommends specific techniques to overcome them.
Teams won’t accomplish much if their members don’t pay attention to the activity at hand. By missing important details, teams perform tasks inefficiently, produce poor quality work, or fail to meet their objectives completely. In many cases, the problem team can’t even identify that it missed anything, so this problem can often go hidden for a significant period of time.
Solution – Constructive Team Building Games: Team building games that require participants to assemble something or otherwise perform a task according to precise instructions provides a safe space to practice detail oriented teamwork. Organizing to process instructions is vital. That usually requires a foreman role, dividing instructions among team members and a final inspection and reconciliation process. The game provides freedom to experiment or make mistakes without serious work or emotional consequences. Just remember that it’s a game and keep things light!
Inattention often arises out of organizational problems. Sometimes the team is reluctant to accept a leader for fear of giving one person too much power. Sometimes members feel inhibited from discussing organizational issues frankly. Then again, it may be the case that the team is responding to an overly regimented managerial environment and are too busy "playing the game" of their formal duties to really self-organize.
Solution – Games with Rotating Roles: Proper organization takes places when team members not only understand their own roles, but understand why every role is necessary. If everyone gets a chance to try out a leadership role they’ll discover why it’s necessary. The same thing applies to every role in the team. Don’t forget to define roles beyond "leader" and "follower." Communication, task review and other roles are equally important. Teaching the team to define and use them shows them that proper organization is genuinely useful and not just a matter o acknowledging the leader.
Shyness can cripple a team by preventing members from sharing important information, acknowledging that they understand instructions, or checking for clarification. It can also be a real morale killer. If someone is afraid to talk, they’re afraid to give praise and usually don’t accept it politely. That creates an environment where resentment can easily build, inhibiting communication even further.
Solution – Icebreakers: Icebreakers are a tried and true part of team development because defeating shyness is so important to basic team building. Icebreakers get participants to exchange names and information, defeating the basic reluctance to call on people they might not know well, and warm the group up for communication in a team building context.
These aren’t the only team building issues you may encounter, but they’re often fundamental barriers to improvement that lie behind other issues. Solve them with the right team building games, and other problems may quickly unravel.