You can reduce the chaos that arises in your organization because people aren’t working well together. Team building doesn’t take a huge amount of resources and it offers great rewards in the form of fewer headaches and motivated staff members.
There are many organizations that have discovered that they can keep their teams happy and healthy all year long by implementing an ongoing team building program. The following concepts will help you design an approach that works for you.
1. Devise a practical team building program. Decide beforehand at what time and how frequently the meetings will take place, what will transpire, what activities you have planned, who will facilitate and who will schedule and remind people to attend.
2. Everyone is welcome. Nothing ruins the sense of team cohesiveness as quickly as leaving someone out because they are deemed “difficult.” This team building process is universally inclusive because everyone gets to participate. I highly encourage agencies to consistently include top management along with other staff.
3. Regular attendance is encouraged. Nobody weasels out of the team building meetings. Think of the message it sends the rest of the staff when one person is not present. Over time you will find that you will not have to worry about attendance because people look forward to the meetings.
4. Schedule realistically. Set yourself up for success by scheduling meetings during calmer times when people can actually think and participate. I recommend holding one-hour meetings weekly on a regular, ongoing schedule that everyone is aware of.
5. Establish a calm, civil, kind and professional atmosphere. All comments and opinions are welcome, everyone gets a chance to talk, no rebuttals, no personal attacks, leave personal agendas at the door and everyone agrees to listen to one another. It helps to have a neutral and expert facilitator set the ground rules and facilitate the meetings.
6. These meetings are exclusively for team building activities. We aren’t here for strategic planning, airing grievances, fixing problems or talking about any number of other things that derail the team building process. Remember why you started these meetings in the first place: to build stronger teams.
7. Continue holding the meetings over time and you will get good at it. Commit to meeting consistently and it will become a regular part of your operations.
Practicing these ideas will greatly improve the morale and cohesiveness at your organization. A little investment in time and energy up front pays off big in the end because the pitfalls associated with people not working together gradually vanish. Imagine your workplace free of the noise that gets in the way of collaboration. All it takes is your commitment to making it happen.