A lot of leaders and organizations want to practice effective team building but there's a big chasm between wanting to do something and actually doing it. I often hear people in workplaces saying things out loud that illustrate why they aren't building teams but they're not aware they're doing it. People have beliefs hardwired inside them that they don't even realize get in the way of bringing employees together and encouraging them to collaborate. Here are ten of the most prevalent beliefs.
- They'll never get along. If you believe people won't get along they'll prove you right almost every time.
- We're rugged individualists. Individuals functioning in this way aren't as adept at working in teams as people who believe in collaboration.
- If you want it done right do it yourself. If you're doing everything it leaves your team stranded and feeling like they can't do anything right.
- Teams must have a strong leader. It's often the strong leader that gets in the way of everyone having a voice and participating actively.
- Collaboration was fine in kindergarten but this is the real world. If you believe this then I know how you practice team building.
- Everybody has a specific job. This keeps people firmly in their boxes and discourages creativity.
- Team building is secondary to productivity. Many leaders overlook the idea that if you build a strong foundation of high-functionong teams you become more productive.
- Team building is too touchy-feely. Leaders who believe this create workplaces that only allow three feelings: forced happiness, fear and anger.
- I don't have to participate. Nothing says you lack commitment to team building than not participating in it with your employees.
- I don't have time for team building. This is like saying you don't have time to build a roof over your building because you've got to get to work and then it rains and soaks everything.
Enlightened leaders understand that team building is a vital building block to creating workplaces where people interact positively and help each other get things done. The way you actually build teams is to take action in small increments and do it over time. You might offer ongoing team building training or provide opportunities for people to work together to solve problems. Some organizations form mastermind groups that tackle thorny issues. The idea is to gradually build a workplace where working collaboratively is encouraged. What will you do to create a culture of team building in your organization?