Team building is successful when employees feel safe to share ideas on how company policies can be improved. Communication issues are uncovered when I interview both leaders and their direct reports on what is working and not working with the team. I take this information and create a personalized training for the company. This only works with companies whose leaders are open to constructive feedback. Team Building training will backfire when employees feel it’s the program of the month for appearance sake only. Morale and trust are deflated when employees “know” that nothing will change after these sessions.
- Are you a leader who wants to hear what your employees are talking about at the water cooler and use this information constructively?
- Are you an emerging leader who wants to know how to create successful team building strategies during meetings?
- Are you tired of the status quo and want to see positive change and results at work?
This article contains 3 team building strategies to help you create some interesting and productive conversations with your team. All of these ideas are team building strategies that my clients use successfully during staff meetings.
Team Building Strategy #1: Make the meeting safe
Everyone in the room is told that the feedback that I share is anonymous since all departments and job functions were interviewed. Only patterns are shared. There are usually negative or cynical employees who don’t trust this system. They have attended other training and nothing seems to change. This elephant in the room is addressed immediately. All I ask is for everyone to give the training a chance before they judge the process. If you decide to take these ideas and use them for your own training be prepared for these necessary and tough discussions!
Team Building Strategy #2: Share patterns from the interviews
The patterns are revealed. The most important part of the training happens when employees and leaders answer the following questions in small groups:
- What do we need to be talking about?
- Let’s now beat around the bush.
- What issues haven’t we been talking about?
- How is this currently impacting you and how will this impact our future?
Another important “rule” is to make sure names are not used and blaming is not the purpose of the team building program. It’s all about change, openness, trust, and results.
Team Building Strategy #3: Be specific when giving feedback
Take time to choose your words wisely so that you convey exactly what you mean – you can’t assume that people know what you want.
When giving feedback use the following 2 strategies:
- Don’t use vague communication such as, “We need to sell more products.”
Suggest that, “We need to create at least 2 new products in order to keep up with the competition.”
- Don’t use hazy messages by saying, “Everyone needs to be to work on time.”
Tell others, “We begin working with members at 8:00 am each day.”
This one team building strategy will improve communication within the entire company. Hopefully, people will stop mind reading what others need from each other.
Team Building Strategies #3: Ask important questions to change the status quo
The results from the phone interviews are shared after employees are face to face in the training and discuss their important feedback.
The following questions are asked during the phone interviews:
What if you were the CEO or President and had your own set of rules to keep your customers/clients?
- What would you do differently?
- What restrictions would you remove?
- How would you treat your star employees?
- How would you handle poor behavior?
So Joyce, what are your thoughts about creating successful team building training?
There are a couple of ways to conduct the important training sessions. You can have both management and employees together depending on the trust level in your company. You can also divide the training so management and employees work separately. Once the training is complete the results are given to both management and employees. I conduct an executive debriefing to discuss what changes will be made as a result of the research and employee input. The real magic comes when employees are included in the last part so they feel that they were heard. Of course, some of the ideas will not be used but being listened to is the #1 factor to improve your morale. These team building strategies work!
I want to hear from you
Send me your questions or comments on what team building strategies you use. What works and what challenges do you still experience with your team. I will answer all comments. Feel free to email your questions or concerns that you don’t want to share with others.
Learn how Joyce Weiss can leverage her 30+ years of communication and leadership consulting and coaching experience to help your organization address team building strategies here.
This is Joyce Weiss, Communications Strategist and Coach
Until next time, Remember…”You Get What You Tolerate!”
PS Read more articles and listen to podcasts at our Team Building Strategies Knowledge Base