Tag: Teamwork

The Ultimate Guide to Team Building and Teamwork

For most of us, teamwork is a part of everyday life. Whether it’s at home, in the community, or at work, we are often expected to be a functional part of a performing team. This guide will encourage you to explore the different aspects of a team, as well as ways that you can become a top-notch team performer.

We will be covering the following topics in our ultimate guide to team building and team work (click on a heading to go directly to that section):

Defining a Successful Team

Defining Success as a Team

Success is determined by a wide range of factors. When we are given a project or an assignment we are also usually given a metric to which we can gauge the success of it. Having a strong team will benefit any organization and will lead to more successes than not.

What is a Team?

A team is a group of people formed to achieve a goal. Teams can be temporary, or indefinite. With individuals sharing responsibility, the group as a whole can take advantage of all of the collective talent, knowledge, and experience of each team member.

Team building is an organized effort to improve team effectiveness.

An Overview of Tuckman and Jensen’s Four-Phase Model

Educational psychologist Bruce Wayne Tuckman, Ph.D. was charged by his boss at the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda MD with a review of 50 articles about team behavior. From this body of work, Dr. Tuckman conceived his theory of group developmental processes in 1965.

The Forming Stage:  Groups initially concern themselves with orientation accomplished primarily through testing. Such testing serves to identify the boundaries of both interpersonal and task behaviors. Coincident with testing in the interpersonal realm is the establishment of dependency relationships with leaders, other group members, or pre‑existing standards. It may be said that orientation, testing, and dependence constitute the group process of forming.

The Storming Stage: The second point in the sequence is characterized by conflict and polarization around interpersonal issues, with concomitant emotional responding in the task sphere. These behaviors serve as resistance to group influence and task requirements and may be labeled as storming.

The Norming Stage: Resistance is overcome in the third stage in which in-group feeling and cohesiveness develop, new standards evolve, and new roles are adopted. In the task realm, intimate, personal opinions are expressed. Thus, we have the stage of norming.

The Performing Stage: Finally, the group attains the fourth and final stage in which interpersonal structure becomes the tool of task activities. Roles become flexible and functional, and group energy is channeled into the task. Structural issues have been resolved, and structure can now become supportive of task performance. This stage can be labeled as performing.

In 1977 Dr. Tuckman, collaborating with Mary Ann Jensen, proposed an update to the model, termed Adjourning.  It describes the process for terminating group roles, task completion, and the reduction of dependencies.  This stage has also been called “mourning”, especially if the team’s dissolution is unplanned.  The first four stages are the most commonly used parts of the process.*

* Smith, M. K. (2005) ‘Bruce W. Tuckman – forming, storming, norming and performing in groups, the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/thinkers/tuckman.htm.   © Mark K. Smith 2005

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Types of Teams

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a team as a number of persons associated together in work or activity.   Teams are formed for many purposes.  Examples include project teams, ad-hoc teams, quality improvement teams, and task forces.  Sometimes the team is formed to work on a goal as an adjunct to a traditional hierarchy in an organization.  At other times, the team is designed to replace the hierarchy.

Several roles help to keep a team operating smoothly.

Team Leader

  • Moves the team to accomplish its task
  • Provides a conducive environment for getting the work done (location, resources)
  • Communicates with the team

Team Facilitator

  • Makes things happen with ease
  • Helps the group with the process
  • Enables the group to produce the “how” decisions

Note:  Facilitators may be members or non-members of the team.

Team Recorder

  • Writes down the team’s key points, ideas and decisions
  • Documents the team’s process, discussions, and decisions

Time Keeper

  • Monitors how long the team is taking to accomplish its tasks
  • Provides regular updates to the team on how well or poorly they are using their time
  • Collaborates with the team leader, facilitator and others to determine new time schedules if the agenda has to be adjusted

Team Members

  • Displays enthusiasm and commitment to the team’s purpose
  • Behaves honestly; maintain confidential information behind closed doors
  • Shares responsibility to rotate through other team roles
  • Shares knowledge and expertise and not withhold information
  • Asks questions

Self-Directed Teams

A self-directed team is a team that is responsible for a whole product or process.  The team plans the work and performs it, managing many of the tasks supervision or management might have done in the past.  A facilitator (selected by the team or an outside individual) helps the group get started and stay on track.  The facilitator’s role decreases as the team increases its ability to work together effectively.

E-Teams

An e-team is a group of individuals who work across space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. Members have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose, have interdependent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

Geographically dispersed teams allow organizations to hire and retain the best people regardless of location.  An e-team does not always imply telecommuters, individuals who work from home. Many virtual teams in today’s organizations consist of employees both working at home and in small groups in the office, but in different geographic locations.

The benefits of an e-team approach are:

There are a few caveats when using e-teams.  They frequently operate from multiple time zones, so it is important to make sure that there is some overlapping work time.  In addition, unless a camera is used for meetings, working virtually means that there is no face to face body language to enhance communications.  Therefore, intra-team communications must be more formal than with a team whose members meet physically.  Care also needs to be taken to make sure no one is left out of the communications loop just because he or she is not visible.  E-teams demand a high trust culture.

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The First Stage of Team Building – Forming

The First Stage of Team Development – Forming

What makes up a good team? Well, that question is open to interpretation, but we will start with the first step in the team building process which is forming. We will discuss what makes up that stage and how each person in the team fits into the process.

Hallmarks of This Stage

When a new team forms, it concerns itself with becoming oriented.  It does this through testing.  It tests to discover the boundaries of interpersonal and task behavior. At the same time, the members are establishing dependency relationships with leaders, fellow team members, or any standards that existed when the group formed. The behaviors of orientation, testing, and dependence become the process called Forming.

Members behave independently when the team forms.   While there may be good will towards fellow members, unconditional trust is not yet possible.

What to Do As a Leader

Strong leadership skills are essential in the Forming stage.  The team leader must:

  • Provide an environment for introductions
  • Create a climate where participants can begin to build rapport
  • Present a solid first agenda so that the goals for the team are clear.

What to Do As a Follower

Because the members of a new team may experience uncertainty and apprehension, it’s important to help team members feel comfortable and that they are a part of the group. In addition, helping team members enhance their listening skills will allow them to focus more clearly on the objectives, thereby helping to maintain interest and enthusiasm for the work of the team.

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The Second Stage of Team Building – Storming

We will look at the Storming phase where the team focuses on their objective. This is the reason the team was created, and we will break down where the leaders and followers fit into this stage. Team members will now begin to fill certain rolls and the team is starting to come together.

The Hallmarks of This Stage

In the Storming phase, the team starts to address the objective(s), suggesting ideas.  It empowers itself to share leadership. Different ideas may compete for consideration, and if badly managed, this phase can be very destructive for the team.  Egos emerge and turf wars occur. In extreme cases, the team can become stuck in this phase.

If a team is too focused on consensus, they may decide on a plan which is less effective to complete the task for the sake of the team. This carries its own set of challenges. It is essential that a team has strong facilitative leadership during this phase.

What to Do As a Leader

Team conflict is normal in this phase, and is a catalyst for creativity. But the leader must address any conflict immediately and directly so issues don’t fester. Once you understand two sides to an issue, you can help the team generate a win-win solution.  Assertive communication is an important skill during this phase of the group’s evolution.  It is also important to help team members continue to build trust.

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The Third Stage of Team Building – Norming

The Third Stage of Team Development – Norming

By now the team should be in place and everyone has their role with progress beginning on the objectives. Goals have been set and people are now beginning to work on their tasks.

The Hallmarks of This Stage

As the team moves out of the Storming phase, it enters the Norming phase. This tends to be a move towards harmonious working practices.  Teams begin agreeing on the rules and values by which they operate. In the ideal situation, teams begin to trust themselves during this phase as they accept the vital contributions of each member toward achieving the team’s goals.

What to Do As a Leader

As individual team members take greater responsibility, team leaders can take a step back from the leadership role at this stage.  It is an opportune time to provide team members with task and process tools, or even an energizer to keep enthusiasm levels high.

What to Do As a Follower

Because team members have gained some mutual trust, they are freer to focus on process and task. Being a link in a chain is a great way to visualize followers in this stage. If one link is not pulling its weight, or is not as strong as the other links the chance of success is lessened. Everyone needs to work together.

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The Fourth Stage of Team Building – Performing

The Fourth Stage of Team Development – Performing

The team should now be well into their work and progress made on their objectives. Communication is going well and team members are sharing knowledge and working well together.

Hallmarks of this Stage

Once teams move from Norming to Performing, they are identified by high levels of independence, motivation, knowledge, and competence. Decision making is collaborative and dissent is expected and encouraged as there will be a high level of respect in the communication between team members.

What to Do As a Leader

Since the team is functioning in a highly independent way in the Performing phase, the leader shifts partially into a support and mentoring role to provide task or process resources to help the team complete its objectives.

What to Do As a Follower

Because the Performing stage implies high interpersonal trust, knowledge, and competence, participants can perform higher level analyses to support decisions toward team objectives.

A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a simple tool that allows specific ideas to be easily categorized to help support the adoption of a solution to an objective.

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Team Building Activities

Team Building Activities

Team building is an organized effort to improve team effectiveness.  All members of the team must be committed to the idea in order for the effort to be effective. Team building can be indicated for any team or for a work team that is considered to be” in trouble”. Team building implies hard work that continues on after the initial training session.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Team Building Activities

The Benefits of Team Building Activities:

  • Teambuilding improves productivity and motivation.
  • Teams will gain and increase ability to solve problems.
  • Teambuilding helps break down personal and political barriers and allows for rapport building.
  • The process can help level the playing field between outgoing and shy team members.
  • Participating in teambuilding can help teams overcome performance problems.

See more benefits of team building here

The Disadvantages of Team Building Activities:

  • Teambuilding requires expert facilitation in order to be successful. Not every team leader has innate facilitation skills.
  • Activities can be time-consuming for teams with a short-term charter.  And if team members are part-time, they may have conflicting feelings about the time the teambuilding takes.
  • If several levels of management are on the team, those members may be reluctant to open up.
  • Conducting teambuilding activities electronically or by conference cannot be as effective face-to-face sessions.
  • Some teambuilding exercises involve touching or physical movement, which can make some people uncomfortable.

Find out what to do when team building activities go wrong

Team Building Activities That Won’t Make People Cringe

There are many choices of activities and techniques to foster team building.  Which you choose depends upon your assessment of the team, the skill sets of the members, the amount of available time, geographical considerations or constraints, and the team’s objectives. 

Choosing a Location for Team Building

A teambuilding session can be intense, and often involves games or other physical exercises.  It’s important, therefore to select the location carefully to promote the best possible learning outcome.  Regardless of whether you hold your teambuilding session on or off site, there are some important considerations to explore.

Click here for the best team building venues in South Africa

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Making the Most of Team Meetings

Team meetings are extremely important in team building and facilitation.  It is very important that they are well structured and have a set purpose and time. When a meeting is run well it is a fantastic tool as it provides a forum where a lot of information can be given to a lot of people in a short amount of time. Issues can be addressed and action plans set into play.

Setting the Time and the Place

Giving thought to time and place considerations for a team meeting can go a long way toward producing a more effective meeting outcome.  Below are some elements to think about.

  • Is the location convenient for participants?
  • Quiet.  Is the meeting going to be held in an open environment?  Near the plant?
  • Is this an e-team meeting?  Or a meeting with members in remote locations or different time zones?
  • What time of day is best?
  • Are there time zone considerations for e-teams or remote participants?
  • For what other interruptions and distractions can you anticipate and plan?

Trying the 50-Minute Team Meeting

In some companies, meetings are stacked up on the hour like planes in the landing pattern at O’Hare Airport. The 50-minute meeting concept is simple; instead of a full 60-minute meeting, why not give people time for a bio break, a fresh cup of coffee, and “commuting time” to the next meeting?

50-minute meetings also help manage:

You can’t always have a 50 minute meeting, but if you’re meeting will run several hours, you could have a connected series of 50 minute meetings. The extra 10 minutes in each hour — set at a consistent clock time such as 50 minutes after the hour — could allow for stretches, breaks, or a quick e-mail session.

Using Celebrations of All Sizes

The team just finished a ten-month project to implement SAP in a small manufacturing company. The project delivered on time, and under budget.  It’s time to celebrate! Celebrations can take many forms.  A checklist of elements to consider can help you decide how best to say thanks.

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Solving Problems as a Team

Solving Problems as a Team

One of the most common objectives of a team is to solve a certain problem. It is usually why a team is created. Team members bring a diverse set of skills to the team and this provides a great scenario and the best chance in finding a solution. Because the team is comprised of individuals that bring a unique skill set, it provides the team with a “the whole is greater than its parts” setup which is a valuable tool.

Read: Problem Solving Team Building Activities

The Six Thinking Hats

In 1999, Dr. Edward de Bono published a book entitled Six Thinking Hats.  He theorizes that the human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways — or states — which can be identified, deliberately accessed, and therefore planned for use in a structured way, allowing team members to develop strategies for thinking about particular issues.

Six Thinking Hats is a powerful technique that helps teams look at important decisions from a number of different perspectives. It helps them make better decisions by pushing members to move outside their habitual ways of thinking. It helps them understand the full complexity of a decision, and identify issues and opportunities which they might not otherwise notice.

In order to make it easier to clearly identify and work with these states, colored hats are used as metaphors for them.  The act of putting on a colored hat allows individuals to symbolically think in terms of the state, either actually or imaginatively.

White Hat:  Neutrality: Participants make statements of fact, including identifying information that is absent — and presenting the views of people who are not present — in a factual manner. 

Red Hat:  Feeling: Participants state their feelings, exercising their gut instincts. In many cases this is a method for harvesting ideas; it is not a question of recording statements, but rather getting everyone to identify their top two or three choices from a list of ideas or items identified under another hat. This is done to help reducing lists of many options into a few to focus on by allowing each participant to vote for the ones they prefer. It is applied more quickly than the other hats to ensure it is a gut reaction feeling that is recorded. This method can use post-it notes to allow a quick system of voting, and creates a clear visual cue that creates rapid if incomplete agreement around an issue.

Alternatively it may be used to state ones gut reaction or feelings on an issue under discussion – this is more common when using the hats to review personal progress or deal with issues where there is high emotional content that is relevant to discussion.  Finally, this hat can be used to request an aesthetic response to a particular design or object.

Black Hat:  Negative Judgment: Participants identify barriers, hazards, risks, and other negative connotations. This is critical thinking, looking for problems and mismatches. This hat is usually natural for people to use, the issues with it are that people will tend to use it when it is not requested and when it is not appropriate, thus stopping the flow of others. Preventing inappropriate use of the black hat is a common obstacle and vital step to effective group thinking. Another difficulty faced is that some people will naturally start to look for the solutions to raised problems – they start practicing green on black thinking before it is requested.

Yellow hat – Positive Judgment: Participants identify benefits associated with an idea or issue. This is the opposite of black hat thinking and looks for the reasons in favor of something. This is still a matter of judgment; it is an analytical process, not just blind optimism. One is looking to create justified statements in favor. It is encapsulated in the idea of “undecided positive” (whereas the black hat would be skeptical – undecided negative).  The outputs may be statements of the benefits that could be created with a given idea, or positive statements about the likelihood of achieving it or identifying the key supports available that will benefit this course of action

Green Hat:  Creative Thinking: This is the hat of thinking new thoughts. It is based around the idea of provocation and thinking for the sake of identifying new possibilities. Things are said for the sake of seeing what they might mean, rather than to form a judgment. This is often carried out on black hat statements in order to identify how to get past the barriers or failings identified there (green on black thinking). Because green hat thinking covers the full spectrum of creativity, it can take many forms.

Blue Hat: The Big Picture: This is the hat under which all participants discuss the thinking process. The facilitator will generally wear it throughout and each member of the team will put it on from time to time to think about directing their work together. This hat should be used at the start and end of each thinking session, to set objectives, to define the route to take to get to them, to evaluate where the group has got to, and where the thinking process is going. Having a facilitator maintain this role throughout helps ensure that the group remains focused on task and improves their chances of achieving their objectives.

Encouraging Brainstorming

Brainstorms are a simple and effective method for generating ideas and suggestions.  They allow group members to use each other as creative resources and are effective when a subject is being introduced. The goal is to rapidly generate a large quantity of ideas. Subsequent sorting and prioritizing of the ideas is usually needed to refine the results.

Building Consensus

Consensus is a point of maximum agreement so action can follow. It is a win-win situation in which everyone feels that he or she has one solution that does not compromise any strong convictions or needs. To reach consensus, group members share ideas, discuss, evaluate, organize, and prioritize ideas, and struggle to reach the best conclusions together.

A good test for consensus is to ask the question “can you support this decision?” If everyone can support it, the group has achieved 100% consensus.

Consensus is not always the best strategy. In some cases, reaching consensus does not result in a better decision or outcome. For example, group members are capable of unanimously agreeing on a completely incorrect solution to a problem. But generally, reaching consensus remains a highly desirable goal.

To make consensus work, the leader must become skilled at separating the content of the team’s work (the task) from the process (how the team goes about doing the task). But the process should get the most attention.  A facilitative leader helps a team to solve its own problem.  The problem-solving process is as follows:

  1. Identify the problem or goal.
  2. Generate alternative solutions.
  3. Establish objective criteria.
  4. Decide on a solution that best fits the criteria.
  5. Proceed with the solution.
  6. Evaluate the solution.

Everyone involved in the process should understand exactly which step is being worked on at any given point. When team members sense a problem, they are usually reacting to symptoms of the problem. But they are side effects of the real problem which usually lies below the surface.

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Encouraging Teamwork

Encouraging Teamwork

For every team member that believes and works for the team the chances of success go up exponentially. That is the reason why it is so important in teamwork and team building, as it provides the greats chance of success.

Some Things to Do

  • Promote an active learning climate for the team
  • Try to relate the team building strategies to the team’s work
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies
  • Constantly evaluate both your output and your process. In short, ask regularly, “How are we doing?

Some Things to Avoid

  • Being aggressive — instead of assertive
  • Failing to let others express their opinions
  • Inadequate planning

Some Things to Consider

Encouraging teamwork means making a commitment, and requires practice. The process is not instant and take some time, so be patient. Do not be discouraged by mistakes, learn from them.

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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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The Importance of Commitment in Teamwork

The Importance of Commitment in Teamwork

ACCESS OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TEAM BUILDING AND TEAMWORK

People often have a tendency to associate commitment with emotions. They will follow through on something if they feel right about it. Real commitment is not based on emotions but is a character quality that helps you reach your goals. Where emotions changes and go up and down, commitment has to remain solid. A solid team is made up out of team members with a solid commitment to the team.

Related: Building Teams by Encouraging Teamwork

Commitment is Discovered in Adversity

You find out how committed the members of your team are when the team faces adversity. Struggles often strengthen a team’s resolve. Adversity promotes commitment and commitment in turn, promotes hard work. The more work a team puts into a project, the less likely they are to give up. Committed team members do not give up easily.

Commitment is not Dependent on Gifts or Abilities

Commitment does not automatically come with talent. You have to connect your gifts and abilities with commitment. Too many highly talent individuals squander their potential because they do not commit. Team members do not always underperform because they lack ability or opportunity, but because they are not using what they already have. If you commit to using the talent you already have, you will find that you have more talent and more to offer the team.

Commitment is a Choice

Whatever the conditions may be, commitment is always a matter of choice. Your conditions do not determine your choices; your choices determine your conditions. When you choose to be committed, you increase the chances of you and your team being successful.

Commitment Lasts When it is Based on Values

It is one thing to commit to something; it is another to remain committed. What do you base your commitment on? Choices based on solid life values place you in a better position to sustain your level of commitment. A commitment to something you belief in, is a commitment that is easier to keep.

How to Improve Your Level of Commitment

  • Tie Your Commitment to Your Values: Take time to reflect on your values. Your values are closely related to your ability to fulfill your commitments. Reevaluate commitments not related to your values and commit yourself to those values that you are not living out.
  • Take Risks: Commitment involves risk. You may fail or your team members may let you down. Give your best anyway, you will not regret it.
  • Evaluate the Commitment of Other Team Members: You cannot make a commitment to an uncommitted team member and expect a commitment from them. Examine your relationship to see if your reluctance to commit is due to the potential recipient being untrustworthy.

Resource: The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player

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The Importance of Adaptability in Teamwork

The Importance of Adaptability in Team Work

ACCESS OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TEAM BUILDING AND TEAMWORK

Personal rigidity does not mix well with teamwork. As a member of a team, you need to adapt yourself to others in order to be a good team player. Team players that are adaptable are teachable, emotionally secure, creative, and service minded.

Related: Building Teams by Encouraging Teamwork

Adaptable Team Players Are Teachable

An adaptable team member places a high priority on breaking new ground and is highly teachable. If you are highly skilled in one area, you can use and adapt those skills to new projects. This approach will only work for those team members that are teachable. Team members who are not teachable have a difficult time dealing with change and, as a result, they never adapt well.

Adaptable Team Players Are Emotionally Secure

Everything is a challenge or a threat to the team member that is not emotionally secure. They will tend to react with rigidity and suspicion when another talented person is added to the team, there is a change in their position, or a change in the way things are done. An emotionally secure team member is not nervous by the change. They can evaluate the new situation and change their responsibilities based on its merits.

Adaptable Team Players Are Creative

People that adapt easy are usually creative. When difficulties come, they find a way to overcome them. Creative people do not act in fear when they are challenged to do something different; they say, “let’s try it, even if we blow it.”

Related: Creative Thinking Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Adaptable Team Players Are Service Minded

Team members that are focused on themselves are less likely to make changes for the team than those who are focused on serving others. When your goal is to serve the team, adapting to accomplish the goal is not that difficult.

How to Become a More Adaptable Team Member

  • Make learning a habit: Always look for new things to learn, share it with your friends or colleagues and file away what you have learnt for future use.
  • Reevaluate your role in the team: Look at your current role in the team and try and discover if there is another role you could fulfill better than your current one.
  • Think outside the box: Many people are not adaptable because of negative ruts. Do not think of reasons why something cannot be done, but think of how it can be done. Look for unconventional solutions when you meet a challenge. You will be surprised how creative you can become if you continually strive to do so.

Resources: The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player

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How to Solve Problems as a Team

How to Solve Problems as a Team

Solving problems are one of the most common objectives of a team and is usually the . The diverse set of skills the team members bring to the team enhances the chance of finding a solution. In this article we will be looking at how problems are solved as a team.

Related: Problem Solving Outcome Based Team Building Activities

The Six Thinking Hats

Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a powerful technique which a team can use to solve problems by looking at the problem from various different perspectives. It encourages team members to move outside their habitual ways of thinking. It also assists the team to understand the full complexity of a decision and to identify issues and opportunities which they might not otherwise notice. The various different perspectives are symbolized by different color hats. The act of putting on a colored hat allows a team member to symbolically think in terms of the perspective which the colored hat symbolizes.

White Hat – Neutrality
The team members make statements of fact. Information that is absent is identified and the views of people who are not present are presented in a factual manner.

Red Hat – Feeling
The team members state their feelings and exercise their gut instincts. It is a good method of harvesting ideas and getting the team to identify their top two or three choices. It helps the team to reduce a list of many options into a few to focus on. In this method of thinking each team member gets to vote for the solution they prefer.

Black Hat – Negative Judgment
Team members are encourage to identify barriers, hazards, risks and other negative connotations. This perspective involves critical thinking with team members looking for problems and mismatches. In this state team members should be discouraged from seeking solutions to raised problems.

Yellow Hat – Positive Judgment
Team members are asked to identify the benefits associated with a certain option or solution. In contrast to black hat thinking, this perspective looks for reasons in favor of something. This perspective is not just blind optimism but it is also an analytical process.

Green Hat – Creative Thinking
Team members are encouraged to think for the sake of identifying new possibilities. Things are said for the sake of seeing what they might mean, rather than to form a judgment. This form of thinking can take many forms and can cover the full spectrum of creativity.

Blue Hat – The Big Picture
All the team members are asked to discuss the thinking process. The team leader will generally wear this hat throughout the process and each member will be require to put it on from time to time. This hat should be used at the beginning of the problem solving session to set objectives and to define the route to take to get to them. It is also used to evaluate where the group has got to, and where the thinking process is going.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a simple but effective method for generating ideas and suggestions. Brainstorming sessions allow team members to use each other as creative resources and are effective when a subject is being introduced. The aim of brainstorming is to generate a large quantity of ideas in a short time. This is usually followed by the sorting and prioritizing of the ideas to refine the results.

Building Consensus

Consensus is the point of maximum agreement from which action can follow. It is the one solution where everyone in the team feels that they have a solution that does not compromise any strong conviction or needs. In order to reach consensus, team members share, discuss, evaluate, organize and prioritize ideas.

To obtain consensus among the team, the leader must be able to separate the content from the process. The process should get the most attention with the leader assisting the team to solve its own problem.

The problem-solving process is as follows:

  1. Identify the problem or goal.
  2. Generate alternative solutions.
  3. Establish objective criteria.
  4. Decide on a solution that best fits the criteria.
  5. Proceed with the solution.

Everyone involved in the process should understand exactly which step is being worked on at any given point. When team members sense a problem, they are usually reacting to symptoms of the problem. But they are side effects of the real problem which usually lies below the surface.

 

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Quotes to Inspire Teamwork

Quotes to Inspire Teamwork

ACCESS OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TEAM BUILDING AND TEAMWORK

Teamwork is an essential part of everyday life. You are often expected to be a functional part of a team whether at home, participating in sport or at work. When every member works for the team and works together as a team, the team’s chances of success increases. Each team member brings his or her own unique skills to the team, making available a diverse range of resources for the team.

We have put together the following quotes to inspire your team to a higher degree of teamwork:

“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
– Mother Teresa

“Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.”
– Brian Tracy

“I’m not under too much of an illusion of how smart or un-smart I am because film making ultimately is about teamwork.”
– Guy Ritchie

“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
– Patrick Lencioni

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.”
– Mark Sanborn

“My work is all about adventure and teamwork in some of the most inhospitable jungles, mountains and deserts on the planet. If you aren’t able to look after yourself and each other, then people die.”
– Bear Grylls

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
– Henry Ford

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
– Steve Jobs

“When you start out in a team, you have to get the teamwork going and then you get something back.”
– Michael Schumacher

“I invite everyone to choose forgiveness rather than division, teamwork over personal ambition.”
– Jean-Francois Cope

“There’s a tipping point that happens with soccer in which you just kinda get it. I was drawn to it because the best soccer teams play similarly to my favorite basketball teams – like the eighties Lakers or eighties Celtics – teams that emphasized teamwork over individualism and relied on passing as their biggest ongoing edge.”
– Bill Simmons

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
– Helen Keller

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
– Phil Jackson

“The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.”
– Rensis Likert

“Teamwork is the secret that make common people achieve uncommon result.”
– Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

“To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.”
– John C. Maxwell

“Teamwork makes the dream work”
– Bang Gae

“Teamwork is essential that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
– Vince Lombardi

“Of what need is teamwork without a common goal?”
– Ogwo David Emenike

Team Building Activity Quote

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