5 Proven Ways of Team-building You Should Try

May 12, 201510:32 am1640 views

Is team-building an art or a science? When it comes to assembling, motivating and keeping a great team happy so that they can flourish in your business, the truth is that it’s a bit of both.

Fortunately, academic research on team culture and group dynamics sheds some much needed light on creating and motivating the perfect team. Five practical ways that can help develop a coherent team with positive, functional dynamics are listed below:

  • Team-building exercises can work

The Small Group Research journal paper “Does Team Building Work?” analysed data from 103 studies conducted between 1950 and 2007. This cumulative research provides the strongest scientific evidence to date that team-building can have measurable, positive effects on team performance.

The “secret” in making team-building work is to keep things normal, and to avoid situations that feel invasive, awkward, or forced. Do NOT assemble your team and ask everyone to share their greatest fear–a huge majority of the people involved won’t appreciate this forced mix of their work life and personal feelings.

  • The 5 best team-building activities

In light of the lacklustre reputation of team-building, you probably aren’t surprised to read that research from Citrix has shown that 31 percent of office workers say they can’t stand team-building activities.

This negative association is a shame, since a study from Harvard Business School mentioned a connected team is a motivated team. There are ways to circumvent the negative association and provide great bonding experiences for co-workers.

David W. Ballard, head of APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, shared these five simple team-building activities that have shown to be successful time and time again.

They are:

  1. Volunteering. The best activities are those that the entire team feels proud to participate in. Research even suggests that helping others makes you feel like you have more time on your hands!
  2. Physical activities. Sports make for superb outings that allow employees to work together and get physical exercise. However, Ballard warns that always playing the sport that the CEO likes may make the activity feel like an obligation. Also, pick your sport carefully: activities that could result in injury (like football) aren’t as effective as milder, non-contact options (like bowling or ice skating.)
  3. Field trips. Simple, casual trips like visiting a park or museum or going to a baseball game can work wonders for your team.
  4. Professional development activities. Quality workshops give teams the opportunity to stay up to date with education and develop professional relationships in new settings–all without the stigma of going it alone or the awkwardness of trying to network solo.
  5. Shared meals. Eating regularly with your team allows for casual conversation in a comfortable environment, letting team members get to know each other outside of work.
  • Great teams need non-work communication

A study from MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory shows that when it comes to predicting the success of a great team, the most important element is how well the team communicates during informal meetings:

“With remarkable consistency, the data confirmed that communication indeed plays a critical role in building successful teams. In fact, we’ve found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success.”

This doesn’t mean team members have to be best friends outside of work, but managers should recognise that non-work discussions are critical to creating a team that looks out for each other. Otherwise, co-workers may begin to view one another as just cogs in the machine.

How can informal conversations be regularly prompted within teams? According to the study, “We advised the center’s manager to revise the employees’ coffee break schedule so that everyone on a team took a break at the same time.”

In short, a simple nudge works far better than awkward, forced team-building exercises that mandate casual conversations.

  • Star performers are often dependent on their team

Your rockstar employee that seems to thrive due to natural talent may be more dependent on their team than you think.

A study published in 2006 revealed that the overall performance of heart surgeons improved over time (patient mortality was the outcome measured) when they were able to consistently work with their usual team at the primary hospital they performed in.

This finding is very important for both employees and employers to consider when evaluating how a particular team is contributing to their rockstar’s consistency.

  • Remote teams can outperform local teams

A 2009 study from MIT’s Sloan School of Management found that virtual teams working for software companies were regularly outperforming on-location teams, as long as they had the proper systems in place.

What systems are required? According to the MIT study:

Those processes can be classified in two categories: task-related–including those that help ensure each team member is contributing fully; and socio-emotional–including those that increase the cohesion of the group.”

The group’s findings show these elements to be critical for remote-team success:

  • Let remote workers know they are valued. Remote workers are especially vulnerable to being looked over and not feeling appreciated for the work that they are doing. Teams need to make sure remote workers feel supported and appreciated, even if they aren’t in office.
  • Find solutions for seamless work coordination. A much-needed tool for any virtual team is the ability to view, organise and change deadlines through a project management system that the entire team can access.
  • Task-related communications. The simple question “What did you get done today?” can be difficult to answer and track with remote teams.

Try those scientifically proven ways of team-building in the near future!

See: Fixing The Workplace Culture for Our Own Good

Source: Inc

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)