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How To Build A Great Team: Aspects Of Team Building Too Often Overlooked
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Team building for success means more than just gathering a bunch of people together.

It means gathering the RIGHT people together.

By “right” I don’t mean it in a moral sense, but rather in the sense of lining up people whose strengths match up well with the work that needs to be done.

Let’s say that you are putting together a corporate team.

The first role of leadership is development of a vision of the mission for the team.

This reveals the specific functions needed to fulfill that mission.

When building a team, there are two basic criteria to consider.

First, is the specific function needed to fulfill the mission statement, like “marketing skills” or “sales skills” or “management skills”, etc.

But one also needs to take into account the general function of team bonding skills.

Is this a difficult person to get along with?

How are his general interpersonal communication skills?

Does he display the qualities of professionalism or does he take things too personally?

Does he recognize the fact that his level of morale and motivation impacts the level of moral and motivation for the rest of the team?

Development is essential for team success – ongoing personal and professional development. So another question to consider is what is this person’s attitude toward ongoing training and development?

You also have to look at the candidate's attitude toward change and innovation. Is he resistant to change? Does he balk at the requirements of adapting to innovation?

One way to test out a potential team member is to place him in the context of team work activities.

The first activity might be to have him working alone, following a detailed set of rules that allow for no variance.

This gives you an idea of how this person does with following rules and implementing policy.

Another activity might simply state a goal for the person to achieve, without any rules at all, to test his decision-making, independence and self-reliance.

Additional team building challenges might include placing him on a team with someone who continually makes mistakes and misunderstands instructions, to see how he reacts to this.

You might include a team challenge in which a team member expresses negativity, pessimism, disgruntlement, complaining and criticism.

You can test the individual’s approach to innovation by requiring that he come up with several different ways of performing the same simple task.

In one of my recent team building trainings I included these challenges as individual and teamwork exercises, but they also work well as tests.

Whether you are putting together a corporate team, an office team, a sales team, a construction crew team, a sports team, or even a team of personal friends and contacts who can help you lead a more successful life, a avoid the common mistake of telescoping on individual skills and overlooking team skills.

Team mates need skills in conflict resolution, motivational speaking, following rules, dealing with someone who is breaking rules, policy execution, handling another's behind-the-back griping, coping with change, communication effectiveness, maintaining professionalism in interpersonal relationships, etc.

Sometimes an individual possesses such a high level of skill related specifically to his individual work that you might feel that his deficit in interpersonal skills is worth overlooking.

But keep in mind that interpersonal teamwork skills can be taught, developed, and refined, and providing ongoing training to accomplish this raises individual and team performance.

So team building is not just about gathering a group, or even gathering a group of individuals who are skillful in their particular area of work. It is about joining forces with individuals who work well with others. It is also about continuously building up the teamwork skills of every team member.


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