Team building attempts to improve effectiveness of the team by having team members to concentrate on:
- Setting goals and priorities for the team.
- Analyzing how team’s goals and priorities are linked to those of the organization.
- Analyzing how the work is performed.
- Analyzing how the team is working, and
- Analyzing the relationships among the members who are performing the job.
The process of team building is a collection of steps which lead to a specific change in the approach among people, to make effective teams. Various steps of team building process are not one-shot action, rather, they are repetitive and cyclical.
1. Problem Sensing
There are a number of ways in which problems of a team can be obtained. Often the team itself defines which aspects of team building it wishes to work on. This problem can better be identified in terms of what is hindering group effectiveness. At this stage, generally most of the members come forward with their arguments as to what the real problems are. The view may be quite different ranging from the organizational problem, group problems to even personal problem. In problem identification, the emphasis should be on consensus. The consensus-seeking part of the process necessitates that each person becomes thoroughly aware and understand clearly the basic concepts of team-development. Much of the problems may be solved through effective communication and training sessions.
2. Examining Differences
The perception of people on an issue differs because of their differing backgrounds, such as, their value systems, personality and attitudes. The perception may be brought to conformity through the process of exercise on perception which involves a number of psychological exercises particularly on perceptual differences. The role of communication is important in this context because it will help in clarifying the actual problems to the members.
3. Giving and Receiving Feedback
The step of perceiving things and listening to each other may be relayed back to the members as there is a possibility that such processes may create tense situation in the group. Often, members report about the painful feelings that they have at the time of evaluation of their feelings. The discussion should continue until all members of the team have commented. The feedback should be given to the members about their feelings, about the issue, the way people talk about the issue, the staying with the topic or going off on tangents, who was talking more or who was talking less, who was trying to resolve the differences, etc. Such feedback generally provides members to evaluate the values but at the same time, also provides opportunity to understand themselves. The concept of Johari Window may also be applied. This suggests that even people are not fully aware of themselves.
4. Developing Interactive Skills
The basic objective of this process is to increase the ability among the people as to how they should interact with others and engage in constructive behavior. Following are the examples of constructive and negative behaviors:
- Building: developing and expanding the ideas of others.
- Bringing in: harmonizing, encouraging others to participate.
- Clarifying: resting, ensuring, understanding, seeking relevant information.
- Innovative: bringing in new relevant ideas, information, feelings, etc.
- Over talk: interrupting, talking together with speaker.
- Attacking: deriding, belittling, criticizing person.
- Negative: cooling, cynicism, undermining morale.
At the time of discussion of feedback, people themselves take assignments to increase specific constructive behaviors and decrease specific negative behaviors. If this process is adopted several times, there is a strong possibility that members may learn constructive behaviors and leave negative behaviors This is quite helpful in developing teamwork.
5. Follow-up Action
This is the final stage in team building. At this stage, the total team is convened to review what has been learned and to identify what the next step should be. Follow-up action also helps in overcoming the drawback involved at the initial stages of team-building. It involves deciding who will take care of each area of the team’s responsibilities, and who will be responsible for team projects in a group that has not developed a satisfactory division of responsibility; clarifying and setting differences in perception concerning responsibility and authority in the team, with complex division of responsibility and authority among members.
These attempts bring co-operative and supportive feelings among people involved in the team functioning. When this exercise is undertaken at the initial stage, it contributes positively towards the feelings of the people. However, to encourage and sustain such feelings, management should take such actions at regular intervals so that members feel reinforced and sustain their positive behavior. Such actions will go a long way in shaping the organizational climate quite conducive to members for their efficient working.
Read More: Team Development Life Cycle
- Important Steps when Building a new Team (MIT Human Resources)