Lasting impact of effective teambuilding

Teams are often most effective when all members are excited to be part of a constructive and open group. Freepik

Teams are often most effective when all members are excited to be part of a constructive and open group. Freepik

Published Apr 2, 2024


Des Squire

AN effective manager, who is in essence an effective leader, can follow various steps to assist in the process of building a quality team. However, unless there are defined processes in place for the development of learning cultures, all other stages of development will fail.

The task of building a team requires that each member of the team approaches the teambuilding exercise with an attitude of “what can I learn” and “what will my contribution be worth”.

Members of the team need to be encouraged to approach the exercise with an open mind. They must feel from the outset that their individual contribution is meaningful, worth listening to - and if appropriate, used and acted on.

The manager or supervisor becomes a leader and not a boss from the onset. Active participation is encouraged and team members are made to feel their contribution is appreciated. Team members will be excited to be part of a constructive and open group where all ideas, good or bad, have merit. Here are some ideas to assist:

Define purpose

Outline the purpose of a project or what it is you are trying to achieve.

When people are clear about the purpose of their work, they are better able to understand their manager’s concerns. When they are not clear about their purpose, they don’t feel part of a team.

Clarify roles

Let people know who the team members are, and how their roles and responsibilities relate to each other. When roles are unclear, people don’t feel empowered to take responsibility and team members may end up encroaching on each other’s territory. This can lead to conflict and will certainly undermine teamwork. It is important that you choose the right person for the right position in the team. Without the right level of competency, team members will not be able to perform effectively.

Cultivate communication

You can never communicate too much in a work environment where communication relates to progress and/or problems. The best teams have the most open communication and don’t avoid creative conflict. Managers need to allow debate and constructive input by team members. Once a decision is made, each team member must support that decision and work toward what has now become the common goal. Managers must seek the views of team members, even if they do not like what they hear.

Develop trust

Relationships deteriorate when managers play favourites and don’t treat team members fairly. The secret here is consistency in how employees are treated. Trying to get employees to compete against each other can have its consequences, including distrust between team members and the undermining of teamwork objectives.

Constructive feedback

Evaluation should be ongoing in an environment of continuous and honest dialogue; rather than a bureaucratic process. Poor performance can and should be noted in open discussion sessions with employees. Performance discussions need to be constructive so as to avoid conflict between the manager and the employee.

Unfortunately, evaluation takes place after the event and recording poor performance serves no purpose at this stage. It’s simply too late. Instead, look at the poor performance as a teaching or learning opportunity, and make the exercise of discussing poor performance something constructive. Evaluations should take place as a means to improving performance.

Learning culture

When you create a learning culture, you will encourage employees to take responsibility and to assist and support one another. Your employees can share their experience and learn from each other’s mistakes and successes. Good ideas can be discussed, acted on and rewarded.

Developing a learning culture starts at the top of an organisation. If supervisors and managers are afraid of making mistakes because they might be punished, and if their roles are unclear or they are confused about the company’s purpose or objectives, they will not be in a position to develop effective teamwork.

* Squire is managing member at Amsi & Associates