Category: Managing Teams

Tips on Dealing With Poor Team Players

Dealing with poor team players

When we manage a team, there will always be a time where we have to address a member, or members, that are not working well with the group. No one wants to be the bad guy, but if the employee is not confronted and not given the chance to improve, it can affect the other members of the team and could cause a ‘domino effect’ for productivity. Learn the techniques of approaching this delicate situation and look out for your team as a whole – not just one member.

Manage Their Results, Not Their Activities

It  is more important to monitor the employee’s results, rather than the individual activities. If the employee is delivering great work and it’s on time, then the process of how they finish it means very little.

For many team members, having this sense of freedom and trust can boost their confidence and improve productivity. However, if a team member is not completing work on time or is not turning in projects, then this is an indication of poor work habits and the team leader should investigate into what is causing the problem. Approach the employee and talk to them about their routine schedule. If needed, organize some form of an improvement plan to help them adjust their ways of completing their assignments.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

It is better to be prepared for any mishap before it happens, which is why it is important to be proactive rather than reactive. If we wait for something to go wrong before we act on it, we cannot think clearly about what to do and it may be too late to fix. The same theory goes for team members. Do not sit back and wait for them to make a mistake before they are taught how to do something correctly. Monitor each employee’s progress and notice any minor problems they may have along the way. Speak to the team member early on when they problem starts and try to find a way to guide them on the right path. This will prevent the problem from getting worse and having to use more damage control later. Being proactive will always keep you one step ahead and ready to help the employee succeed.

Check In Often

On the same lines of being proactive, be sure to check in with your team members often. They may not always have the chance to contact you or may not want to admit they need help. Schedule some form of regular communication for informal check in times that best work for you and the employee. Check in can be done by a phone call or simply sending an email. This will help both of you stay on track and allows you to report any feedback that needs to be addressed. Think of it as keeping a close eye on your flock and ensuring that you are there for them if they happen to go astray.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Example forms of check in methods:

  • Email
  • Phone call
  • Recurring group meeting
  • Video chat

Remove Them

Sometimes after a team leader has tried several attempts to help a team member work well on a team, they come to realize that the particular employee is just not a great fit and will need to be removed. Some employees can be too disruptive to their teammates or are not able to work independently. This can cause problems for the whole team and should be addressed right away. Before you decide to remove the employee, make sure your ducks are in a row and that you have done all you can to help them succeed, such as personal help or extra training. If you have followed all of the correct guidelines and the employee does not show any type of improvement, then you can take the next steps in removing the employee from the team. Some employees may be reassigned to another department in the company while others may need to be fired altogether. Review all of their available options and determine which would be best for the company and the team.

 

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How to Succeed With a Virtual Team

How to Succeed with Virtual Teams

Succeeding with traditional face-to-face teams can be challenging enough, but succeeding with a virtual team can be just as hard, if not more so. Inspiring a team to create and meet goals, maintain motivation and work together are only a few obstacles when managing a team that you cannot see on a daily basis. But with effective communication and a little discipline, any virtual team can succeed.

Setting Clear Goals

Setting goals are one of the most elementary processes that can lead to success. After all, you don’t know where you’re going until you determine what you want! Clear goals are normally set for the team as a whole as well as each individual teammate. The manager works with the team to determine what they want to achieve over a set amount of time (i.e. increased sales, decreased absences) while the employee sets their own goals about what they want to achieve as a member of the team (i.e. decreased data errors, increased personal productivity). Setting goals with your virtual team can help them stay task-focused and can make them feel as though they are making a difference on the team.

Tips for setting goals:

  • Determine what you want to achieve
  • Define a path that can help you get there (there may be more than one)
  • Decide what you will do when you reach that goal

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

A Standard Operating System is generally a company’s process or procedure that it follows in the workplace. Sometimes a company does not feel the need to document these procedures, since many people may already know it. But creating these procedures and correctly documenting them allows the manager to share them with other employees and create them as a type of guideline and resource. As a manager, review some of the procedure and processes that have worked for you in the past and try to create them into an SOP. Although it can be time consuming, it will be worth the benefits in the end. On a virtual team, these can be especially helpful for employees who may not have experience on the team yet.  They will come to you for help and will need to learn procedures if they are to contribute to the team.

Build a Team Culture

Your virtual team is your family. Every member should take the time to know each other and familiarize themselves with someone else’s situation. After all, every member of the team is a human being and deserves to be treated with respect and friendliness. If employees are not able to socialize locally, allow them to have a chat room on a private server or virtual community they can come and go in to speak with other employees on a non-business level. If possible, assign projects or assignments in pairs or small groups to encourage further mingling and socializing. When the employees feel as though they are part of a family, they see other teammates as family also and will create their own team culture they can fit into.

Related: Dealing with Culutural Differences in YourTeam

Provide Timely Feedback

Positive or negative, feedback is a great tool to help employees at work. On a virtual team, giving timely feedback is important to the team’s overall success. Employees need to know how they are doing on assignments and need to know if they need to change anything. Since the manager cannot randomly approach the employee to give feedback as they would in person, it is best to set up regular, scheduled sessions (such as by phone or chat) to alert the employee of any negative feedback that needs to be addressed or any positive feedback that should be shared. This will require the manager to get to know the employee personally so that the feedback sessions are not awkward or uncomfortable.

 

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How to Deal With Cultural Differences in Your Team

How to deal with cultural differences in your team

Cultural issues in the workplace have been a hot topic for many years. They are more than just demographics and cannot always be detected right away. Even though team members may be from the same office or a similar location, each one has their own unique culture and following. It is important to embrace these differences and acknowledge the cultural issues that may be present. This can help the team build successful relationships with each other and prove more productive in the long run.

Respect and Embrace Differences

Diversity among a group is always a good thing, but under the wrong impressions it can ruin any team. Whether the difference is a type of culture, political opinions, or simply a difference in background, all these factors can change how a person interacts with another person and what kind of view they have.  When team members are diverse, it can keep the team from thinking on one path and stop the ‘one track mind’. It opens teammates up to new ideas and points of view, which in turn can create new concepts for projects and assignments. Together, they can learn to not only respect their differences among each other, but embrace them to create a whole new work style.

Be Aware of Different Work Styles

Sometimes different work styles on a team can be a good thing because they allow each employee to think on their own and work within a design that works best for them. Other times, it can be a real source of trouble if not properly addressed. Some employees may prefer to work alone even though they are needed on a team project. One employee may be a procrastinator and wait until the last minute to complete their assignment. The key is to learn to be flexible with one another and adjust how you approach each other. No two people work the same way, so any team, especially a virtual one, will need time to adjust to one another and learn what makes the other team member work so hard. When we know how they function, we can work in sync with them without a hitch…most of the time!

Know Your Team Members Cultural Background

On a virtual team, it can be hard to get to know your teammates personally since you are so limited in communication and socialization. Even if the members meet during some sort of meeting or conference, it can be hard to acknowledge a person’s cultural background. Some companies have an employee fill out a personal profile that can be shared with other employees, which allows them to better know the person even though they are not in the same office. When we can better understand a person’s cultural background, we can better understand why they do some of the things they do and can make them feel more comfortable on your team.

Examples:

Provide an “All About Me” survey to gather information about employees

Some information can remain private if desired, such as religion or political views

Acknowledge cultural instances, such as holidays and rituals

Dealing with Stereotypes

Stereotypes can ruin any team relationship or bond. The sweeping generalization a stereotype can cause people to become confused or view people in a negative light, even if it was unprovoked. Knowledge and understanding are the only tools we can use to deal with stereotypes. Get to know your employees and encourage them to get to know their coworkers. Learn more about the employee as a whole person instead of what their cultural background may have been labeled as. Through observation and interaction, the chances of anyone creating or following stereotypes in the virtual team decreases and employees are able to focus on the task at hand, and not each other.

 

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Effective Communication in Virtual Teams

Effective Communication in Virtual Teams

Effective communication is a key component to any successful team. It is especially important when managing a virtual team because not only do you deal with traditional communication problems with the team members, but virtual teams can face more obstacles trying to keep in touch. Learning helpful tools and techniques for effective communication can take any virtual team a long way.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Poor communication among team members and team leaders has been shown to cause low team morale and a decrease in productivity. Sometimes team members can feel unsure about approaching you or are not sure what to do when they have a problem. Encourage your team to engage in two way communication and ask questions when they receive new information. When they know who they can come to in a jam, they will feel more comfortable communicating their needs.

Communicate Early and Often

Early communication means not waiting for a problem to happen before addressing it. Check in with your team on a regular basis, whether by phone, email, conference, etc. Don’t let a team member struggle through a problem over a long period of time. Don’t wait for them to contact you; reach out to them to offer help. Contact each team member often and follow up after any problems they have reported. Keeping in touch with each team member not only cuts down on large problems, but it shows your support in the team and can boost their morale substantially.

Tips:

  • Create a regular schedule to check in with team members
  • Find what methods work best for each team member
  • Keep track of small problems that arise early to prevent bigger ones later

Rules of Responsiveness

Communication is a two way street and can shut down when one side doesn’t contribute or doesn’t act on their responsibility. When outlining communication techniques with your virtual team, one aspect to cover is the rules of responsiveness. Determine which forms of response are appropriate in various situations. Do you need a response right away? Is it something they can reply to later? Will you need a short or long response? When sending a communication to the team, let them know how soon they need to reply and how soon you expect to hear from them. The team needs to understand that the communication you exchange with them is very important and that they need to respond in a timely manner.

Communicate Face to Face When Possible

Sometimes communication needs to be made in person or face to face. Communication over the phone or email can often be skewed because there is a loss of tone and body language. Although this can be hard with a virtual team, there are ways the team leader and team members can work together. If distance is somewhat small, arrange a time for the team member to meet either at your office or theirs. If the distance is too great, the next best option is to use some sort of video message system, such as Skype. Although it does not replace in person meetings, it allows the team leader and team members to talk ‘face to face’ and monitor their tone and body language signals. Sometimes long distance communication just can’t deliver an effective message – so never underestimate the power of talking in person.

Choose the Best Tool

Every form of communication has an appropriate tool to use with it. Some information can be delivered by informal methods, such as email or telephone calls. Informal methods are great to use when a short or quick answer is needed rather than a longer response. Participants can share information quickly and then continue with their work. Other messages should be delivered more formal, such as face to face talks or even in a group meeting.

Formal methods are better used for in-depth messages and descriptions. The information is often lengthy and may require explanation or presentations. Formal methods also allow participants to ask questions or add their input. To choose the best tool, the team leader should determine how urgent the message is, how quickly it needs to be received, and what kind of response they are looking for. Once they determine what is to be shared and what they need in response, they can then choose the best tool for the job.

Be Honest and Clear

One of the pitfalls about team communication is that we try to hide information from each other. Tea leaders will try to ‘sugar coat’ a problem within the team or team members won’t mention how hard they are struggling with an assignment. When speaking with your team, don’t try to hide facts behind blurred words. If you have to deliver bad news, be upfront and let them know what is going on. If you need to change something they are doing or working on, be clear as to why and the effect it will have on them. When we try to hide facts or information, team members can become skeptical and will eventually lose their trust in you.

Tips:

  • Remain honest, even if it is a negative aspect.
  • Speak clearly and don’t hide the fact behind ‘sugar coated’ words.
  • Ensure the team is clear about what they hear (Any questions?)

Stay in Constant Contact

Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to reach a team leader that has fallen out of touch. Team members need to be able to reach you during regular business hours and should always have a source to contact outside those hours (i.e. on-call, second shift manager). It is especially hard for virtual team members since they cannot always physically contact you and will need some other way to speak to you when needed.

It is important for you to stay in constant contact with your team members and ensure them that you are there for them when they need you. Some examples include sending daily emails to check on progress, or making regular meetings to follow up with the team. Make a note of team members that need your assistance more often and be sure to check up on how they are doing over time. By staying in contact now, you are helping to prevent further problems later.

Don’t Make Assumptions

We all know that old saying of what happens when we assume. A common problem in communication is assuming that we have delivered all of the information needed or assuming that the team will not have any trouble with their work. These assumptions can cause us to leave our team members out to dry and cause them to feel as though you are not there to help them. The team can begin to resent you and may feel too uncomfortable to ask for further information.

Ask for the team to follow up on any information they receive, especially if they have questions or concerns. Periodically check on each team member’s productivity and ask if they are having any difficulties or need another problem addressed. Your team members can benefit from your guidance, so don’t assume they will make it on their own without you.

 

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How to Run Successful Virtual Team Meetings

How to run a virtual team

Just because your team is not at a table in front of you doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them and guide them during a project. As with a normal meeting, there will be the issue with setting a good time, ensuring everyone shows up and making sure you deliver all the right information. The key is learning tools that can help you run a successful meeting, in person or virtually!

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Scheduling Will Always Be an Issue

Virtual teams have a harder time scheduling meetings because the team members  are not in the same location. Some team members  are in different time zones, others work different hours while the rest may be constantly traveling. One tip for managing the team’s time schedules is to keep a log or chart of a team member’s  location, working hours and where they could be assigned later. With this tool, you can determine prime times to hold virtual meetings that won’t conflict with someone’s schedule.

If different meetings need to be held, plan a schedule with the team regarding a rotation of team members staying late or coming in early to cover meeting times. Many team members are happy to abide by a schedule in which they can give their opinions. Be sure to remind the team of any consequence that can occur for not sticking with the schedule or not participating in the meeting, such as written warnings and disciplinary actions on their record. Understand that some team members may still be hard to schedule even with adjustments. So have an alternate solution handy in case a team member cannot attend group meetings. Be flexible with team members that attend meetings outside of their normal work hours, offer the next day off or maybe a half day.

Have a Clear Objective and Agenda

An agenda is very important to have in any meeting and is more so in a virtual meeting because it keeps everyone on the same track. Outline what you want to discuss and accomplish from the meeting and jot down ideas on how you can make them happen. Include specific topics that need to be reviewed and events that have happened with the team. The team needs to know there is a clear objective of the meeting and that it is not a waste of their production time. Share your agenda with the rest of the team so they can be aware of the purpose of the meeting and what they can contribute.

Tips for sharing your agenda:

  • Include it in a mass email so the team members can read it ahead of time.
  • On video calls, have the agenda displayed at all times on the screen.
  • For conference call meetings, read over the agenda first and allow the team members to take notes.

Solicit Additional Topics in Advance

Soliciting ideas before the actual meeting is an important tool to use when creating your agenda for the meeting. Speak with your team and ask if they have any additional topics they would like included in the meeting agenda. Sometimes after the team members are aware of the original agenda, ideas or topics are added to the plate, either by management or other team members. However, don’t leave these new topics as a surprise for the other meeting attendees.

It is important to share these additional topics with the team before they ‘arrive’ at the meeting so that they can be prepared and don’t feel as though they were blindsided. When the team knows of the meeting topics ahead of time, they are able to research the topic ahead of time and be able to make a meaningful contribution when they participate in the next meeting.

Discourage Just Being a Status Report

Status report type information can be sent through email or other electronic messages because it often does not include much of a response from the team. It is generally one-sided information that is meant to be informative, not discussed in depth. One of the problems of a virtual meeting is that the moderator will do most of the talking and presenting, leaving the other team members feeling as though they are only there to hear the latest status report. The same can go for team members that come to the meeting to share their information and then sit out for the rest of the time. Encourage team members to ask questions and take notes on the information given. Set aside time for team members to share ideas with one another and engage in conversation or debate about the meeting topics. These meetings are meant to be a time of learning and interaction, not just one-sided information sharing.

 

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Establishing Performance Goals for Your Team

Establishing Performance Goals for Your Team

Performance goals require strategic action. To be effective, these goals should not just be handed down to the team. It is important to include the team members in the goal setting process and encourage them to meet their individual performance goals. This will improve individual and team performance.

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Strategic Planning

A strategic plan determines where the team, where they want to be, and how they will get there. It should embrace the values of the organization and align with the following company information. The organization must create a strategic plan before creating performance goals.

Company Strategic Plan:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Philosophy
  • Goals
  • Objectives

Team performance goals need to consider the company’s strategic plan. Individual performance goals must be SMART goals that include strategies and actions for the team members to take.

Example Goal: Stay informed about innovations in the industry, it can help improve productivity by 10 percent this year.

Examples of Actions:

Job Analysis

A job analysis determines what is required to do a specific job. It will help determine which skills and attributes a team member needs to complete a job successfully. A job analysis will help determine who to hire, how to train, and what compensation a job should receive. Job analyses are instrumental in determining performance. Research a position to determine the following information:

Job Requirements:

Employee Requirements:

  • Training/Education
  • Skills
  • Aptitudes
  • Necessary certification

Setting Goals

Performance goals need to be SMART goals. They need to address behavior, competency, and results. Remember to involve the team members in their performance goals.

Examples of Goals:

  • Behavior: Team members have complained about distance. Communicate with employees in person every week, rather than just sending emails.
  • Competency: New equipment is being installed. Perform all the training within three weeks.
  • Results: Sales are down. Increase sales by 5 percent this quarter.

Motivation

Performance is related to motivation. Motivation is the job of every team leader. There is not a single method for motivating team members. People have different personal motives, and team leaders must meet the needs of individuals.

Motivating Tips:

  • Lead by example: Motivate yourself before you can motivate others.
  • Meet with individuals: Communicate with team members directly to find out what motivates them.
  • Reward employees: Find motivating rewards for individuals.
  • Delegate: Do not micromanage team members.
  • Inform: Inform team members about how they are making a difference in the team.
  • Celebrate: Pay attention to achievements and celebrate with the team.

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Evaluating Performance in Your Team

Evaluating Performance in Your Team

A Performance Management system is only as good as its evaluation process. It is not enough to implement an effective program that covers all the basics, but you must be able to measure its success via assessments and performance reviews. This will in turn allow you to see where modifications need to take place.

Assessments

There are a variety of assessments that can be utilized to determine skill, knowledge, and ability. These assessments can be administered when the individual is a prospective team member or an actual team member.

Types of Assessments

Pre-Screening: A Pre-Screening Assessment can be used to find out information on a prospective team member’s skills and knowledge before committing to hire them and this can save the team costly mistakes down the road.

360-Degree Review: As its name implies, this type of assessment takes a comprehensive look at a team member with regard to their work performance. This information can be attained by involving a diverse pool of individuals, with varying levels of interaction with the team member (e.g. supervisor, peers, clients, etc.)

Knowledge: This type of assessment generally takes on a questionnaire format. It allows the team leader to ask specific questions on topics relating to the business, usually in the form of multiple choice questions.

Performance Reviews

While each company has its own ideas of what a performance review should include, here are steps that should be taken with regard to all performance reviews:

  • Preparation: Both the team leader and team member must be adequately groomed for the review. This may involve reviewing any notes, engaging in a one-on-one discussion with the team member beforehand or simply making the team member aware of the review in advance.
  • Prioritize the meeting: To show the team member that this review is a top priority, there should be a formal agenda that is adhered to. There should also be as few interruptions as possible.
  • Encourage positivity: When speaking to the team member, invoke positive responses by communicating in a positive manner.
  • Clarity: Be sure the purpose of the meeting is clear from the beginning.
  • Expectations: Review the job description, why it is needed, and the standards of performance.
  • Explain team member’s performance: Discuss the team member’s actual performance, whether it fell below, met or exceeded expectations. Give specific examples.
  • Team Member feedback: Allow the team member to express their concerns or suggestions.
  • Goal-setting: Discuss goals for areas that require improvement. If there are no “areas for improvement”, create goals to enhance the knowledge and skills of the team member for personal development as well as bettering the team as a whole.
  • Follow-up: Determine the appropriate method and or time for follow-up.
  • Closing: The meeting should end positively. Review the contributions the team member is making to the team. Inform the team member that you are willing to help in any way necessary.

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Managing Performance in Your Team

Managing Performance in Your Team

Performance management goes hand in hand with talent management. This method can focus on the company, divisions, procedures, or individuals. It provides people with the tools that they need to meet their personal goals and the goals of the team. Performance management is essential to any talent management program.

Performance Management Defined

Team performance management demands communication. Managers must set strategic performance standards for each position. They do this by defining employee jobs and the tasks that accompany each job. These standards need to include personal performance goals that align with team goals. The goals make it clear when performance is and is not acceptable. Team leaders communicate whether or not performance is acceptable with performance appraisals. These appraisals are aligned with performance measurement systems.

Performance Measurements:

  • Mission: This is the overall mission of the team based on strategic planning. For example, increase sales by 10 percent in two years.
  • Process: The steps taken to reach a goal. An example would be developing a new product.
  • Critical Performance: These are the internal subsystems that can include programs, products, projects, and teams.
  • Individual Performance: Performance of team members are appraised periodically to enhance performance.

Benefits

Performance management provides numerous benefits to the company, managers, and employees. Each team will have its own set of benefits, but there are a few main benefits of performance management.

Benefits:

  • Looks at the big picture to determine actions.
  • Aligns actions to team goals.
  • Examines results instead of team member’s activities.
  • Produces specific measurements.
  • Standardizes employee expectations and treatment.

How to Keep Your Team Motivated

Team members who are motivated, perform better. Effective team leaders understand that motivation is part of their job. There is not a single method for motivating team members. Each team member  is different, and leaders need to meet the needs of individuals.

Motivating Tips:

  • Lead by example: Unmotivated team leaders cannot motivate others.
  • Meet with individuals: Communicate with team members directly and discover what motivates them.
  • Reward employees: Reward performance and make sure that the rewards align with employee motivations.
  • Delegate: Grant responsibility to team members and allow them to perform tasks without interference.
  • Inform: Let the team members know how they are making a difference in the organization.
  • Celebrate: Observe achievements and celebrate with the team.

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How to Manage Talent in Your Team

How to Manage Talent in Your Team

Talent management takes hard work and dedication. It is not enough to recruit qualified candidates. Successful talent management retains the best team members. The goal of talent management is to have a skilled team and a complete succession plan without any destructive gaps that would cost the team if one of the team members should leave the team.

Guidelines

The steps of talent management help guide the process. The two main guidelines are Recruitment and Retention. It is important that the team leader has a model for these guidelines and reviews them frequently. The information that should be included in the guidelines is listed below:

Recruitment Strategies:

  • Determine position and responsibilities
  • Create a compelling job description
  • Identify pipelines and sources to recruit (social networks, job fairs, colleges etc.)
  • Review success of recruitment strategies and make changes as necessary

Retention Strategies:

Importance & Benefits

Talent management is important to the success of any team. Team members who are treated as more than cogs in a machine are happier and everyone benefits. Managers, employees, and the company benefit from implementing talent management strategies.

Benefits:

  • Identifies candidates for promotion
  • Reduces turnover
  • Increases productivity
  • Increases profitability
  • Creates career goals
  • Engages employees
  • Reduces stress and stress-related illness

Challenges

Talent management programs face numerous challenges. This is particularly true in times of economic uncertainty. As positions expand to include many skills, there are fewer employees qualified to fill vacancies and the competition to recruit and retain skilled employees becomes fierce.

Challenges:

  • Money to invest in employee development
  • Advertising jobs and creating policies that appeals to the three different generations still in the workforce
  • Support from executives
  • Competition with other companies
  • Few opportunities for advancement

Key Elements to Developing a Winning Strategy

There are essential elements that need to be included in every talent management strategy. These elements can be implemented in all teams, regardless of the size or structure. These elements are also helpful in other business strategies.

Elements:

  • Strategic Goals: Create goals that focus on talent management.
  • Team Involvement: Involve team members in the talent management policy.
  • Communication: Communicate expectations and provide feedback.
  • Assessment: Assess the program and make changes where necessary.

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Building a Diverse Social Learning Team

Building a Diverse Social Learing Team

There are always pros and cons to social learning. The diversity and differences that make a team strong will also cause friction in social settings. Effective teams will address these issues as they develop and manage to keep the communication civil. Knowing how to create a diverse and respectful  social learning team will make the experience more efficient.

Diversity Builds Knowledge

When creating social groups, it is important to make sure that they are diverse. Compiling a diverse team takes time. It is necessary to choose people with diverse cultures, skills, backgrounds, and strengths. These differences will make the team stronger. Only choosing like-minded people will weaken the team and stifle creativity. Diversity builds knowledge and challenges the team to grow. When choosing a diverse team, you need to focus on the skills that will benefit the team. For example, a  team could benefit from mixing people with academic understanding of a subject and others who have real world application. It is also beneficial to blend people from different levels within the same organization.

Social Interaction

Social settings and interactions require basic social skills. This may seem like common knowledge, but you will have to remind people to behave and assess their social skills. There are basic social skills that people need to master in order to make sure that the social interactions in the group go smoothly. Basic social skills include:

  • Listen to other people.
  • Express positive thoughts or feelings in a civil manner.
  • Express negative thoughts or feelings in a civil manner.
  • Make requests.
  • Appreciate people and thank them.

If anyone lacks these basic social skills, social interactions in the team will suffer. Social skills training can improve social interactions for people who need to improve their social skills.

People Are Different

Everyone is unique. This can be both beneficial and cause problems to team dynamics. The positive aspects include:

The cons of having a diverse group include:

  • Personality clashes
  • Competition for promotions
  • Competition for work

Acknowledging that there are cultural and personality differences between people and preparing for these differences will help create a functional learning team.

Dealing with Difficult People

In any social situation, you will have no choice but to deal with difficult people. People are difficult on different levels. Some may not be invested in the learning process and others will actively push back against the team dynamic.

People who passively resist social learning may refuse to participate in discussions or leave tasks incomplete. The best way to handle passive people is to address the reason behind their behavior. It is important not to push people too hard to participate. You should offer assistance as needed.

Some people aggressively resist social learning. They push back by causing trouble and trying to take over the team. Problems include verbal attacks and disruptive behavior. It is important not to take the attacks personally and to make sure that the person acting out is told that the behavior is not appropriate. If the individual become too aggressive, he or she may need to be removed from the team dynamic.

 

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