Team Building vs. Team-building

Team Building vs. Team-building

Do you know the difference between team building and team-building?

Stay with me here, because there is a difference! What if instead, I asked: Do you know the difference between building a team and team building?

Are you catching on? 

We often hear the term team building thrown out around the workplace. And instinctively, many leaders and managers think of social events and the latest trendy activities to increase interaction between employees and teams. And this type of team building isn’t wrong. It’s necessary. 

But before you initiate the social aspect of team building, you first need to focus on and understand the most important aspect of team building. The more literal definition. Which is focusing on the people who make up your team.

Understanding your team members on an individual level, knowing their work styles, knowing their goals, and getting to know them on a human-being level rather than an employee level. This also means understanding what they have going on at work AND in their life, which could cause participation or productivity challenges or opportunities.

In addition to understanding your individual members, you need to understand the roles needed on your team to be effective and successful as a manager or leader.

How to Build an Effective Team

  1. Make sure the positions on your team align with the goals you need to achieve.
  2. Make sure those on your team are fulfilling the responsibilities of their role and their job description is accurate too.
  3. Understand their work styles. Are they highly driven, or do they like to work on one project at a time? Knowing their work styles will determine how you lead them and the type of support they need.
  4. Look at your team as a whole. Do roles overlap or intertwine? Is there a lack of training for positions? 
  5. Put a strong focus on onboarding. This is your opportunity to train them in your culture and provide the tools and resources to succeed.

Once you have built your team or continue to build your team, you can take the above insights and begin to fill the gaps and interject the more commonly understood team-building efforts.

Here’s the thing with both team building scenarios . . . both are necessary for effective and successful teams and businesses. But the order in which you team build is important. Building your team should take priority as it’s your foundation. If you skip this part, you’ll have to do twice the amount of work and risk spending unnecessary budget dollars on team building activities and development that won’t land with your team members.

Focusing on building your team first and providing one-on-ones where your employees engage with you allows for insight into the types of social and developmental activities they want that will give them value.

I see companies or managers select team-building activities that don’t reflect the interests or preferences of their team. And while you’re not going to make everyone happy, you also need to do your best to hit the mark with the majority of your team. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, money, and productivity in their eyes. 

5 Tips For Effective Team-Building

When it comes time to initiate these team-building activities, consider the following tips.

  1. Timing: Be considerate of your employees’ time and non-workplace responsibilities. If any of your team members have families and children, you should consider activities during the workday to avoid conflicts and resentment. If you’re in an industry or company, such as manufacturing, that can’t take time during the day, be considerate and ask your team for options that would work for them. 
  2. Professional Development: Team building isn’t always about social activities but can also be in the form of professional development. This could be a specific speaker on a topic that could support them, a specific workshop, or training. 
  3. Social Activities: These can be effective and offer a relaxing environment for employees to get to know each other better. This could be anything from bringing in meals during the workday, bringing in a massage therapist for a day, or heading out to a fun location together. 
  4. Authenticity: Team building shouldn’t be something you do just to check it off the list. If done well, it can be a powerful tool for increasing productivity and engagement. Make sure to understand your intent with each team-building “event” and ask your employees for feedback.
  5. Seek Support: It can be challenging to team build, especially if you’re a new manager on a team, are having conflict within your team, or don’t have the time. If this is the case for you or you are looking to change it up, consider a third-party resource that can support your team-building efforts. 

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson

Are you feeling some pain points from a lack of effective team building or from a team that is not functioning as well as possible? Connect with me for a free 15-minute assessment today to get on a better health plan for improved personal and business results.

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