Conferences, seminars, and other group activities often seek to build team spirit. Building a team can improve group learning and skills.
It can open communications, stimulate a sense of camaraderie, and even enhance productivity and efficiency. It can even focus on fun and games.
Although team building efforts work best when conducted outside the office, because this creates a refreshing perspective, when employees return to the office, they work with renewed zeal, solve problems better, and work with one another, vendors, and customers in a much more effective way.
So why not make team building work for your company?
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Why team building works
According to Dr. Meredith Belbin, a specialist in teaching the psychology of group cohesion through team activities, each member of a team is chosen because of a natural skill that he or she possesses, that will help the group achieve its goal.
Some people are good at starting things; they grasp the essential goals of the group and are able to delegate. Other people are good at following through when they’re given clear instructions. And some people are good at reviewing what was done to make sure no steps were omitted or errors made.
Usually the biggest and most obvious benefit of team building activities is improved communication. Barriers between participants come down when they see each other as fellow human beings rather than strictly according to the roles they play at work.
They learn about one another’s strengths and weaknesses and how to capitalize on the strengths to accomplish the mission of the team. In other words, they learn how to work together. This naturally will roll over into their working lives, and create a spirit of mutual support and cooperation in the workplace.
Team building is also an opportunity for practicing skill enhancement. In a busy office, it can be difficult to set aside time for specific training, especially in soft skills, such as open communication, flexibility, patience, and time management.
When everyone is involved in some team activity, the coordinator can create simulations that allow people to practice the soft skills that would be useful in the office.
Another team building specialist, Talan Miller, has discovered through experience that team building provides long-term benefits for both small businesses and large corporations.
In particular, he found that consistent team-building efforts lead to the following gains:
- When individuals learned how to combine their diverse skills at work, it maximizes profitability.
- When a company has problems, employees are able to respond faster and more effectively to solve them.
- More work is done in less time when people feel good about themselves and one another. When people are empowered, they become more focused and achieve more, both individually and collectively.
Ultimately, a business, regardless of its size, scope, or industry, is a group effort to achieve a common goal. Amid the stress of daily workflow, however, individuals often do not know how to work together.
Through team-building, interpersonal barriers can be broken down and a sense of unified purpose comes to prevail.