Strong, successful departments drive growth and improve overall employee morale, and departmental teams and work teams need to form friendly and effective working relationships to achieve positive results. When bolder characters overwhelm more subtle personalities, power imbalances emerge, and productivity begins to falter. Carefully designed custom team-training programs turn the dysfunctional aspects of cross-functional teams (or executive teams) into opportunities for growth, empowering participants and instilling them with new enthusiasm.
An effective team is a collaborative unit that's able to work toward a common goal successfully. If your team is dysfunctional in any way, you'll see a failure to meet your goals or a delay in meeting them, as well as fractured relationships and non-productive interaction between team members.
Turnkey Coaching and Development Solution's team development program focusing on the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team provides a highly useful metric by which to evaluate your own work team or leadership team.
Recently, researchers at MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory found a reliable team-building strategy while studying group dynamics. Cohesive teams, they discovered, were bound together not only by work-related commitments, but also by strong interpersonal relationships. The best indicator of a team's success in any workplace — whether it was a bank, a hospital, a warehouse or anywhere else — was its energy and engagement outside work-related projects.
To test their findings in real time, MIT's research group suggested that the manager of a call center reshuffle his schedule so all the people on specific teams took their breaks simultaneously. Team members were suddenly able to socialize with one another in an informal setting on a regular basis, and that led to an increase in camaraderie. The manager subsequently saw his new strategy pay off when the average handling time in the call center fell by 20 percent in his lower-performing teams and 8 percent overall. According to these results, cultivating fellowship in individual teams can lead to remarkable success for everyone.
Your team development program must include a way to assess whether your development efforts are working. The Harvard Business Review recommends paying attention to the team's output and the ability of the team to collaborate, as well as individual assessments of each of the team members.
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Progress Report provides a template for just such an assessment, allowing you to pinpoint areas of improvement to celebrate and build on as well as those ways in which your team still needs to improve.
If a team is truly working together in a relationship of mutual accountability, the Progress Report makes that clear. It also shows obstacles to development and paves the way for team members to assess their own collaboration.
Convivial work relationships don't just happen by accident; they're created purposefully. Successful teams sometimes occur right off the bat, but generally, team members need a little guidance to work openly with one another. Four distinct developmental stages can help you keep track of how your team-building venture is going:
1. The Assembly Phase
During the assembly phase, team members feel excited about the paths they're on and eagerly try out new exercises. They jump at the chance to think outside the box and ask questions about team goals, strategies and potential results. Team members might also feel a little anxious about their roles on the team, and they may wonder what is expected of them. Most individuals feel positive about the future of the team and expect to find success quickly. A focused training orientation meeting can help answer questions,
define goals and reassure people in advance of directed team-building exercises.
2. The Rocky Phase
As one might expect, the rocky phase is a little less harmonious than the assembly phase. Strong personalities are less polite and more confrontational, and some team members feel uncertain about the training retreat. Goals that previously seemed attainable now appear out of reach, and people begin to feel frustrated with the team's overall progress. At this point, it may be best to break more ambitious objectives down into smaller chunks. This is also a great time to focus on conflict-management skills and communication techniques.
3. The Settling-In Phase
In the settling-in phase, people begin to find their niches within the group and communicate more easily with other team members. Individuals express their needs and ideas readily; they listen and respond appropriately to the needs and ideas of others. Real collaboration begins to happen, and team members use constructive criticism to hone their ideas. People feel much more encouraged about the team-building venture at this stage, and they begin to feel enthusiastic about the team as a whole.
At Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions, we develop custom training programs to accommodate our clients' precise needs.
Instead of cookie-cutter day-long or week-long courses, we create tailor-made programs to help your existing teams (from the C-Suite to the frontline) achieve specific goals. We work with intact teams, operational work groups and decision-making teams of any size, teaching them the skills they need to collaborate harmoniously and efficiently.
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team leadership team training and development program is tailored to meet your organization's very specific and unique needs and culture. Through training, coaching and team development, you can facilitate trust, strengthen your team members’ ability to deal with conflicts, and their collaborative skills, all of which come together to produce the results you want your executive and work teams to achieve.
When you're able to harness the talents and personalities of your team members to work together cohesively toward a common goal, everyone benefits. Imagine your team making smart decisions together, tapping into each person's special abilities, and staying focused cooperatively to get results. That's the kind of teamwork that provides your organization with the ability to compete at its best.
A team-building and team-development program is an effective way to build cohesion among your team. But it isn't a one-shot deal. The bonds forged through team-building activities can erode over time without proactive steps to keep them strong. That's why team development, as with culture development, should be an ongoing part of your business's strategy. True, you might not have the time or the funds for weekly team retreats, but you can incorporate productive and fun team-training exercises into your daily routine. This commitment, over time, will not only transform your team’s effectiveness but also have a positive impact on your company’s culture.
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