Team Work Translates to Success

Consider the wide range of PlusOne Dynamics iMA Strategies & Services (iMA HR Audit, iMA Workshops) when reading this article.

17 Dec 2012 – Padmaja S Singh – Enzine

PlusOne Dynamics Team Building

The modern work culture totally depends on working as a team. In an office, every department has to work in tandem, coordinating and co-operating with other colleagues. However, achieving total team efficiency is a difficult task as each individual works with a different mindset. It is not uncommon to see personality clashes at workplaces, as everyone’s style of working is different. It is, therefore, essential for any manager to create a sense of togetherness in the team and restore some sense of discipline.

Simply giving out a guideline regarding the work process is not enough. A manager’s job is to make sure that each team member shares a common outlook at work.

There are various team building exercises that can not only improve team work but also boost each individual’s confidence as well. There are many fun activities which corporate offices undertake to boost a sense of trust, comfort and confidence among team members.

Team building activities reap benefits

It is a common knowledge that in order to get any work done, working as a team is necessary. However, it is often seen that we tend to incline towards people we are comfortable with. Corporate learning programs aim at helping people open up to people they don’t often interact with. These programs aim to promote healthy communication. Team building activities highlight the various qualities in a person which may otherwise go unnoticed.

Exercises that motivate one to think out of the box, step out of the comfort zone and do the unusual, to prove oneself and others just how much one is capable of. Team building activities aim at building mutual trust, compatibility, communication, and essential collaborative skills.

It does not matter whether these team activities are quick five-minute exercise inside the office space or much elaborate weekend outdoor activities, these exercises bring out each members’ creative streak.

Various corporate learning exercises are employed for a fun, yet fruitful, team building activity.

Benefits of undertaking team building activities

• Improved communication: Healthy and proactive communication is the key to a good, functioning team. Lack of communication leads to misunderstandings, unwanted conflicts, delay in work and a horde of other problems. Communication – verbal or non-verbal – is very important for a successful business. When organizing team building activities, one should keep in mind to address communication issues and introduce exercises which focus on strengthening communication within the team.

• Creating a comfortable atmosphere: People spend a major part of their day in office with colleagues. A healthy rapport with every individual in the office creates a comfortable atmosphere for working. Trust and interdependence building exercises go a long way in creating a friendly, yet professional work atmosphere.

• Breaking the stereotypes: It is common for people to be stereotyped – whether it is because of the nature of their work, their body language or simply the way they deal with clients. When participating in various team building activities, people tend to think and act unconventionally. Group exercises help in recognizing and utilizing different skills, techniques and tapping the talents one may have not known existed!

Padmaja Singh is a prolific Mumbai-based freelance writer who writes on numerous topics including Leadership Training, Innovation Workshops, Corporate training & Induction Training, to name a few.

7 Unusual Things Great Bosses Do

7 Dec 2012 – Jeff Haden – INC –

Consider PlusOne Dynamics iMA Services when reading this:

Where employees are concerned, great leaders don’t take. Great leaders give, especially these seven things:

They give a glimpse of vulnerability.

To employees, you’re often not a person. You’re a boss. (Kind of like when you were in school and you saw a teacher at the grocery store; it was jarring and uncomfortable because teachers weren’t people. They were teachers.)

That’s why showing vulnerability is a humanizing way to break down the artificial barrier that typically separates bosses from employees. One easy way to break down that barrier is to ask for help.

But don’t ask the wrong way. Don’t puff out your chest, assume the power-position, and in your deepest voice intone, “Listen, John, I need your help.” John knows you don’t really need his help. You want him to do something.

Instead ask the right way. Imagine you’ve traveled to an unfamiliar place, you only know a few words of the language, and you’re both lost and a little scared.

How would you ask for help? You would be humble. You would be real. You’d cringe a little and dip your head slightly and say, “Can you help me?” Asked that way, John would know you truly needed help. You’ve lowered your guard. You’re vulnerable. And you’re not afraid to show it.

By showing vulnerability, you lift the other person. You implicitly recognize her skills while extending trust.

And you set a great example: Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.

It’s a sign of strength.

 

They give a nudge.

From the employee’s point of view the best ideas are never your ideas. The best ideas are their ideas, and rightly so. So don’t spell out what you want done. Leave room for initiative. Leave room for ownership.

When you describe what you want to be done, paint with a broad brush. Give employees room to take your ideas and make them their own.

They’ll do more than you imagined possible–and they’ll feel a sense of satisfaction and gratification that simply following instructions can never provide.

 

They give unexpected attention.

Everyone loves attention. Unfortunately you don’t have unlimited time to devote to each employee.

So make the most of the time you do have. Don’t just comment on the big stuff, the stuff you’re supposed to focus on.

Notice a small detail. Praise a particular phrase she used to smooth the transition from customer conflict to problem resolution. Praise how he swung by another employee’s desk to grab paperwork he could deliver on his way to another office. Pick something small, something positive, something helpful–something unexpected–to show you really pay attention.

Pick out details and employees know you’re watching–in a good way–and not only will they work harder, more importantly they will feel better about themselves.

 

They give employees a break.

He messed up. Badly. Not only are you a little pissed, this is a teachable moment. You feel compelled to talk about it, possibly at length.

Don’t. For a good employee, the lesson is already learned. Catch his eye, nod, let it go, and help him fix the problem.

Once in a while employees can all use a break. When they get one they never forget it. And they try really hard to show they deserved that break–and to make sure they never need another one.

 

They give a peek inside.

My boss was nearly yelling at a supplier who hadn’t met a key timeline. It wasn’t ugly but it was close. In the middle of their “discussion,” when the supplier glanced away, he turned and winked at me.

My boss was signaling that his emotional display was partly for effect, that he had a plan in mind and that I was in on things. I was an insider. We were partners.

We were in it together.

It’s easy, as an employee, not to feel like you and your boss are in it together. Make sure your employees do. Give them occasional peeks inside.

 

They give an undeserved compliment.

Compliments don’t always have to be earned. Sometimes a compliment can be like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When you see something in employees that they don’t see–at least not yet–they often try hard to fulfill the belief you have in them.

That happened to me. I went out for wrestling in ninth grade and was nervous, scared, intimidated–pick any fearful adjective. It fit. A week or so into practices I heard the coach talking to one of the seniors. “That kid there,” he said, referring to me, “will be a state champion by the time he’s a senior.”

He was wrong. It turned out I wasn’t. But I immediately felt more confident, more self-assured, and incredibly motivated. Those feelings lasted for a long time.

He believed in me.

And I started to believe in myself.

 

They give a hat rack.

Employees who need something–whether it’s a day off, a favor, a break, a chance–often come to you with hat in hand.

They’re vulnerable because they need.

Take their hat and hang it up for them. You may not be able to provide what they want, but you can work through their issue with compassion and generosity and grace.

Never let an employee stand with hat in hand. It’s one of the worst feelings possible–and one you can make instantly disappear.

Team Building Goals – What Are the Objectives of Team Building?

In talking to a client recently about Corporate Team Building and using our iMA Strategies and Services combined with our iMA Communication Style Questionnaire, I remembered this bookmarked post from Kate Tammemagi in Ireland. It’s important to determine and focus on the objectives and goals for building an effective team and not lose sight of the over-arching “purpose” of where the team needs to be.  Kate presents an overview of the 4 “Stages” of Team Building, presenting the ultimate goal of achieving the “High Performing Team” Stage.

At the “High Performing Team” level, team cohesion and effectiveness can be difficult to achieve, let alone maintain ongoing.  Many of our clients experience difficulty with focusing the team and taking the all important first steps to effective team building.  This is where our iMA Strategies and Services really shine!

Take a look at Kate’s ideas below and then consider taking our Free iMA Communication Style Questionnaire (it only takes 2 minutes).  Many of our clients have also found that our iMA High Performance Team Builder Workshop has been both enlightening and invaluable resulting in significantly improved Team Connectivity and Cohesiveness while allowing the team as a whole to be focused.

Grant Dickson – PlusOne Dynamics

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Kate Tammemagi

Success in building high performing teams in any organisation has huge benefits for the business, its Customers, the teams and for each team member. To achieve success in team building, it is important to have a tight focus on the objectives and goals, as well as on the benefits of team building for that specific business or workplace.

The Overall Objectives
Some think this is about playing silly games, or indulging in expensive and irrelevant out of work activities. The managers or business people who believe this will quickly dismiss the concept as a total waste of money and energy. Others who have problems in their workplace with conflict in groups, poor performance or demotivated staff may see team building as positive, but as an unattainable goal. They do not have a clear understanding of team building, or, indeed of the role of leadership in achieving high performance.

Team building is a PROCESS that takes place over time. The start of the process is where there is a group of people, two or more, and a leader. The end of the process is where there is a high performing team, who are highly motivated to perform better and better, who have well-developed processes and systems to organise their workload, and who gain immense satisfaction from their shared achievements.

The overall objectives are to achieve this high performance, to develop the group through the various stages of development, until it achieves high performance. However, like any other process, there are different steps or stages, and there are quite different objectives and goals at each stage. Focussing on the RIGHT objectives at each stage, and changing your objectives as you go through the process, will help you achieve high performance.

The Objectives at Stage One – Forming
At the first stage of team building, the Forming Stage, there are very identifiable objectives and goals. These objectives MUST be achieved before the group can move on to the next stage. It is the role of the leader of the team to ensure the objectives are met.

The objectives at the Forming stage are:

  1. To bind the group, so that they get to know each other and begin having a sense of team. It is at this stage that team building activities will help bind them.
  2. To align them to their shared purpose, goals and targets
  3. To establish a positive team culture, the beliefs, values and norms of behaviour
  4. To establish the role of the leader

The Objectives at the Second Stage – Storming
Some of the initial objectives will continue through to this stage, but other goals will be introduced to develop the team further. This stage is called the Storming Stage, where members may challenge their shared purpose, the leadership or the norms of behaviour.

The objectives at this stage are:

  1. To keep them aligned to their purpose and goals
  2. To develop good working relationships between all members, giving them experience of working with different team members
  3. To nurture shared problem solving and generating new ideas
  4. To introduce processes so that they work effectively together e.g. daily huddles, flash problem solving meetings, regular state of play meetings, communication systems etc.
  5. To establish clear short term goals and methods for celebrating achievement and milestones

The Objectives at the Third Stage – Norming
When the team has worked through the Storming stage, they will have become closer, and will have a deep sense of working together to achieve their shared purpose. This stage is called the Norming Stage, where they work well together and has effective processes and systems.
To get the team to the next stage, the focus changes.

Not many teams achieve the fourth stage, the High Performing Team Stage. The reason for this generally is that they get stuck in the Norming stage. To move the team forward, the objective now is to change the focus quite dramatically.

Up to now, the idea has been that there is no ‘I’ in team. The objective is to bind the team together to achieve their shared targets. Now the objective is to get the ‘I’ back in to the Team, to hold them together, but also to develop individual excellence and specialism.

The objectives at this stage are –

  1. To increase the business knowledge, so that the team and individual members can take on more responsibility
  2. To encourage problem solving, innovation and leadership for specific projects or tasks. The leader delegates to the team, or to small project groups.
  3. To modify or change the processes so that they take on more responsibility. Team meetings reduce, team project teams increase. Leadership of projects or meetings rotates.
  4. To get the team to set its own goals

With this clarity of the ladder of team building objectives, you will have a much better chance of developing your team effectively.