Volume 111, June 2011: Team Development: Life is a Team Sport

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2011 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Life is a team sport and we all get to play.” — Church marquee in Nashville

No one has ever made it totally on their own in this world. All of us depended on others to be where we are today. How pleasant when the groups of people that helped us were teams!

Teambuilding is a deliberate process for helping teams to build effective working relationships among members. Communication is the core to successful teamwork and the starting point for good team development. Some first steps are to acquaint team members with each other, to increase comfort with working together, and to build effective working relationships.

The focus of teambuilding can be (a) interpersonal, (b) goal-related, (c) team roles/responsibilities and/or (d) team processes, such as decision-making and handling conflict.

Some suggested exercises are to:

  • Develop a common aim: shared vision, values and purpose.
  • Encourage new norms. Make agreements about how to treat each other.
  • Design ways to increase involvement and participation. Hear, value, acknowledge each person’s contribution.
  • Open up communication. Make it two-way dialogue, encouraging self-disclosure and feedback.
  • Learn methods for dealing with conflict. Value differences and use them creatively.
  • Address group process along with task dimensions. Use a facilitator to help here.
  • Look at trust and the dimensions of trustworthiness. Audit actions of the group that may destroy trust.
  • Attack symptoms of fear, such as “Discussing the Undiscussables”.
  • Promote collaboration. Seek integrative solutions, where the fate of all matters.
  • Engage all members. Distribute leadership and decision-making.

Practice Point

To build exceptional teams, read about the Team Needs Model in Geoffrey M. Bellman and Kathy D. Ryan’s Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results. Jossey-Bass, 2009.


Buy MK’s latest book!