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The Science of Team Building

Danielle Steele asked:

Did you ever watch William Wallace lead his army in Braveheart and sigh, thinking – if only it were that easy to inspire and generate passion in a group when swords, horses and face paint aren’t involved. It is an important question and one that any employer wanting their team to succeed should be asking…

How do you go about motivating a team to accomplish great things?

Sure, there may be no evil dictator to defeat or great land to conquer, but sometimes the tasks on your team’s agenda may seem as daunting as the Battle of Sterling.

The first factor that you must consider when thinking about the best way to motivate your troops is to determine the common goals. What does your company want, and what do your team members want, what you fighting for?

If you are developing your team from scratch, then establish common ground and common goals. Ensure that everyone is on the same page by finding out their expectations. Whether you have been brought together by business, sport, religion, the team work foundation must begin with a shared purpose. Unite your team and make sure that everyone is heading in the same direction, towards the same destination. Don’t take it as a given that this will be the case, sometimes even the best explorers need a map to plot out their journey.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this bonding will come naturally, there is a science to successful team work that goes beyond pep talks and Friday night drinks after work.

Training the troops

Team building will only be as effective as the trainer, and while there is a plethora of motivational speakers out there, you need to make sure your trainer has more than just a big voice and fancy phrases. Managers and team builders must be inclined to help others and must also take into consideration the many variables of team managing. They must consider the unique mix of the individuals in any given group, the goals they share and the subject matter at hand. There is no “one” way to successfully manage a team. Becoming a good trainer involves adapting to the circumstances.

The training curriculum of team building involves many different methodologies, teaching activities and psychological concepts. Even philosophy and spirituality play an important role in team building.

Motivating the Masses

Consider science in motivating team members to action. Human beings, even the compassionate ones, are instinctively self-involved. Knowing this, an effective trainer will involve team members in the designing and managing process and ensure that each person is included. Ideas must always be considered and discussed, and individual opinion valued.

A trainer should concentrate on developing each team member’s potential. Assembling a group and taking them away from their work or weekends for irrelevant activities could be a waste of time and even insulting. Proper preparation is strongly recommended for a trainer or manager who is serious about building a strong and progressive team.

Updating your methods

With careful planning, you can master the science of team building and help your workers excel. Tailor your approach to each group and update your methodology according to new advances in society and culture. Consider what the team has done before and try to deviate from anything similar. If your team has spent the past team building weekend locked up in a conference room, they will quickly loose interest in repeating such an activity and many may not even turn up. In this case try to appeal to their adventurous side with team building adventures such as white water rafting, abseiling and treasure hunts. Alternatively if they have been on previous adventure reward weekends then maybe they will benefit from more from a challenging theory based weekend. The decision is yours, but it is an important one.

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