Team Building

The Team Building Profile surveys human process elements that are known to be constructive in team interaction.

Broadly, these include the stages of joining the team and fitting in, participating in team activities, and helping to make the team stronger. This profile has a close relationship to the Team Roles profile — it will be useful to examine that as well.

Preference Factors assessed by this Profile are:

Factor Name Description A Low Preference
A High Preference
Joining is about placing the success of the team above one’s own success. We must have a part to play and the expertise needed to fulfill that part. We need to fit in with the way the team functions, that is, play by its rules, observe the relationships between all other parts that are played and ensure that anything we do takes the whole team further forward. Sees self as separate from the team, with others rather than one of them. Becomes one with the team, forms sound working relationships, and seeks to adapt to the team’s culture. Strives to make a quality contribution, doing what is expected.
Integrating makes us part of the team ‘machine’, so that we all function together smoothly. This is achieved by sharing interests, opinions and objectives, by accepting how and where everyone fits in, and by behaving in ways that promote the team’s success. That behavior involves fulfilling expectations of what each of us will contribute and achieve, and the seamless integration of all activity and action. Allows resources and efforts to remain fragmented. Finds what interests people have in common, and what resources each can contribute. Works to mold these inputs into one integrated whole effort for a common benefit.
The Seeking behaviour extends team integration into the preparation and pursuit of objectives, where individual goals are subordinate to the team’s. This implies mutual planning and shared understanding of what is to be done and for what end purpose. Within the overall objectives of the team, we form personal and compatible goals. Each team member needs to be well aware of what other team members seek so they can give their support in appropriate ways. Unlikely to work toward collective goals, and may have only a loose idea of what is expected. Plans with others then adopts the team’s goals. Has a clear idea of what to achieve. Puts time into preparation, then focuses on getting results.
Leading singles out behaviors that enable others to do what has to be done and one’s own capacity for standing the heat when things go wrong. To enable other people, we need to identify objectives, recognize the best persons for the tasks, make sure they have what is needed for the situation and remove any obstacles. There is, of course, much more to leading than that, so see also the Leading profile. Controls what others do without necessarily accepting responsibility for the outcome, and without giving them moral support. Has the strength to be a leader and to stand up to adversity. Cares for those being led, gives them freedom to fulfill their role. Encourages others and commits to their success.
Sharing what is in our minds is an important part of teamwork and team building. Unless we are open about thoughts that affect others, positively or negatively, we contribute to ignorance and possible suspicion. For this kind of openness, we ourselves need to be ready and willing to express our thinking, but we also need people who are ready and willing to take it in. Closed to negative feedback and withholds opinions unless asked for them. Open in what one thinks and does, takes a stand on issues that are important to the team. Accepts both positive and negative feedback easily, and offers the same to others.
Challenging requires us to listen as well as comment. Contesting accepted norms and objectives, and the way things are done, is a first step to improving team performance. We need a balance between decisive commitment and continuity of operation, on the one hand, and willingness to review and confront any aspect that is not up to scratch. Accepts things as they are, not seeking to disturb the balance. Challenges whatever is seen as standing in the way of team success, and expects the same from others within and outside the team. Seeks continual improvement.
Communicating keeps people in the picture. A companion to Sharing, above, it goes to the next level of deliberately and promptly keeping people informed about everything that affects them. In this way, it has an impact on morale as it limits rumor and gossip. As with other factors in this profile and the concept of team building generally, communicating is a two-way street where willingness to take in information is equally as important as giving it out. Ideas and intentions may not be clear to others, or accepted by them. Unlikely to understand well what others think or intend to do. Open communicator who shares own thoughts and explores what others think too. Keeps people in the picture and creates understanding within and between teams.
Deciding may be done alone or with others. Decisions that are best understood and accepted are those where the thinking is shared, even if the final call falls to one person. This factor rates shared decision making with that final choice made by one person. Other factors in this profile, combined with this one, will give an idea of whether the decision process is more or less collaborative or democratic. For example, Deciding coupled with a high Leading score suggests the final choice is made alone, while Deciding couple with Cooperating (next) suggests elective decision making. However, the actual combinations and weight of relevant factors need to be examined. Makes decisions without real consultation with others and may allow feelings to influence choices. Consults others before choosing, to get opinions and information, and shares decision making that affects others. Works within own authority and takes responsibility for choices.
Cooperating depends in part on the way we organize, but also on overcoming interpersonal obstacles. We have to understand not what is said but what is meant and what wanted, otherwise we fall at the gate. Even then we need the goodwill of team members for full cooperation, and each person must play her or his part. Coordinated activities, shared effort and shared responsibility are part of the equation too. Allows issues to get in the way of cooperation. These may include misunderstandings, disputes, lack of coordination. Makes sure understands what others mean and keeps them in the picture. Brings conflict into the open, resolves discord, builds cooperation.
Supporting each other is part of ensuring the team’s effectiveness, As with most other factors in this profile, mutual support depends on recognizing each other’s part and place in the team, their needs and their strengths. It requires willingness to go the extra distance to give the help that is wanted, and a willingness to let others know when we need help ourselves. Doesn’t give or get the support required. Cautious about trusting others and sharing resources. Treats others well, giving them the support they need, protects their dignity. Trusts others, gains strength from them. Shares resources to get the desired result.
Reaching Out
Reaching Out keeps people and teams in touch with each other. No team works in isolation from the rest of the world, not even astronauts. They may be physically removed but they are still very attached to their base. Teams need to reach out to others they operate with in the same way that individuals need to build and sustain links. Fluid communication and contact between groups helps them fulfill their function. Operates largely within his own group. Contributes little to relationships between own group and others. Works in well with groups outside own and seeks strong relationships and good communication with them to develop goodwill. Supportive of other teams’ success.
Developing is essential to improved performance and growing success. This factor focuses on personal growth, both self-initiated and encouraged by others. Without development of each team member, task skills are not maintained, let alone enhanced. Other areas need to be improved too, not least those connected with each aspect of team building covered by this profile. Relaxed about team capabilities, and doesn’t seek to extend them further. Makes the most of opportunity to develop self and team, keeping skills up-to-date and relevant. Extends the range of skills and experience to improve performance.

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