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Team-Building: It’s Not Them, But It Might Be You
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Team-Building: It’s Not Them, But It Might Be You - Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: It’s Not Them, But It Might Be You

Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: It’s Not Them, But It Might Be You

We’ve said multiple times that team-building activities—especially those conducted by some paid, outsider consultant—unite your team in one very real way: everyone hates them. But this is not the kind of unity you’re looking for, and it certainly doesn’t do anything to accomplish your overall goals, whatever they are.

As a proactive measure, team-building itself is a worthy aspiration, and most of your team will consider it worthy as well, since we all prefer to work with others in a genuine spirit of camaraderie. As a reactive measure, team-building activities are futile, as pointed out by one writer at Forbes.com, who says, “Team-building exercises are pointless and even insulting to your team members, because they suggest that if only your team members spent more time doing silly things and solving group problems together, climbing trees and rolling around on the floor, they would work more effectively together the rest of the time.”

The writer asserts that when there’s a problem with teamwork, the problem is probably an energetic blockage in the mix, and if you don’t address the blockage, no amount of trust-falling or blindfolded walks through the parking lot will do anything about the real issue. Without communicating with your team, and without the team members communciating with each other about the actual problem, your team is going to be anything but bonded.

Clearly, there are all kinds of problems that get in the way of your team’s energy, however you want to think about energy. It could be excessive negativity, high expectations with no individual agency, conflicting company policy that nixes every new idea, lack of experience, or unclear directions.

As we say almost every week, true bonding comes not through a contrived activity, but by doing important, meaningful work with one another. When team members know they are contributing to something that really matters, they grow closer together because they see each other as successful partners toward accomplishing this meaning. This is a simple thing to repeat, but many leaders can’t seem to grasp it, possibly beacuse they’re so deep into managing that they don’t see their own management interfering with either the end (that is, the meaning) or the means (that is, the work).

Chances are you will be unable to identify by yourself the energy blockage, which is why the writer says we must be effective communicators if we want to build teams. This makes sense, because if we agree that miscommunication is the root of every problem, then clear communication makes it more difficult for any of these roots to take hold.

So if your team is struggling to connect, put the Nerf darts aside for now, and figure out with your team what’s preventing it from doing meaningful work together.

Reference link:
Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/09/22/the-ugly-truth-about-team-building


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Team-Building: It’s Not Them, But It Might Be You - Executive Leadership Articles

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