• Why Team Building?
  • Team Activity or Event?
  • Benefits of Team Building
  • How Teams Work
  • Defining your Team
  • Team Building Training
  • Team Building Activities
  • Team Building Training

  • Tailored Team Building
  • Team Building Events
  • Coporate Experiences
  • Also in this series

  • Presentation Skills
  • Assertiveness Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership Development
  • Public Speaking

  • look out

    How Teams Work

    Team Building

    Work based teams operate differently from the more well known sports team models and can be much more diverse, with seemingly unrelated sub groups.

    How Teams Work

    What is a Team?

    It may help you decide what your team building activity is going to look like if you understand a bit more about how teams work. And, get this - no matter what the books say (and there are plenty of them) - every single team is different: there is no model you can follow that will create the perfect team.

    You'll read that you need ideas people, drivers, completer-finishers, etc., etc., etc. And yes, possibly you do need a variety of 'types'. But for our money, the 'types' are far less important than ensuring that your team knows why it exists and what its aims are.

    So let's look first at just exactly what being a team means. You might think that the very word 'team' is clear in and of itself: a group of people working towards shared goals. We wish it were that straightforward. As it isn't, we thought we would unpick it a bit.

    Sports teams

    The most obvious kind of team that everyone knows about is a sports team. Every team member is on the same side trying to beat the opposition. They train together, get to understand how to make the most of each other's skills, and when working well, they are able to fulfil the manager or coach's strategy.

    They know who their opposition is and they have very clear goals. Yes, there may be personality quirks and differences, but the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Work teams

    However, it's not quite so straightforward when it comes to work teams, though, is it? Personalities, which in a sporting context might get absorbed by the team for the good of the game, often take centre stage in the workplace.

    The oddest thing of all, of course, is that it's not always clear who the 'opposition' is. You'd think it would be the competition - whoever your closest corporate rival is. Unfortunately, far too often, the opposition turns out to be right at home base: another team or department, the 'management' or someone sitting right beside you.

    The common enemy

    Now the thing about 'opposition' is that it gives a common focus, a common 'enemy' if you will. Now that's great if it's productive. Creative ideas can pour out of a group when they have to figure out how to handle the competition.

    However, when the common enemy is someone or some group or some department, or the 'them' and 'they' are within the same company, the results are divisiveness, gossip, complaining. The end result of this is, of course, a loss of productivity and people working against, not for each other.

    Then it's all about 'them' and 'us', with people running around using their energies to get more of 'us' to agree just what's wrong with 'them'. We see this in company after company after company - people are spending vast amounts of time and energy having a 'go' at each other rather than using that same amount of time and energy to make things work better.

    This is one of the key reasons why team building is such a hot topic. People can easily recognise that something needs to be done, but they aren't quite sure what.

    Next page defining your team

    Home page team building

    Read more about Team Building Events

    For Tailored Team Building Skills Training see Team Building Skills Training

    For One-to-One Team Building Skills see Executive Coaching

    If you want some in-depth thoughts about Team Building, read the article called Team Building - Building a Good Team

    For an example a recent tailored programme see Team Event for Attenda


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