Creating positive relationships within your team can result in greater productivity, according to the University of California, San Francisco. Rather than an ultimate goal, team building is an ongoing process that requires nurturing and maintenance. Building positive relationships has enormous payoffs, though, including improved communication, increased creativity and better satisfaction levels among team members. Co-workers work better together when there is trust, support and cooperation.
Set Ground Rules
Before teams can function effectively and interact meaningfully, they should know and respect basic expectations for interaction. Ground rules help create efficiency and success, according to the University of California, San Francisco. Rules can be simple, such as requiring that all members be punctual for meetings. They can also be general guidelines, such as allowing all members to contribute and participate during meetings. Allowing the group to develop the ground rules, and reach consensus when it comes to commitment to them, adds legitimacy and authority in a positive way.
Clarify Goals and Roles
Discord and conflict can arise when teams are unclear about the overall mission and objective of their interaction, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Boost collaboration among team members by discussing why the team exists, and allowing the team to create mottoes, posters or awards that reinforce their purposeful interaction. Clearly defining roles can increase positive feelings because members understand their personal and interpersonal responsibilities when contributing to the team’s overall mission. This will also allow members to learn about and respect others’ contributions while brainstorming ways to increase mutual support and collaboration.
Make Room for Personal Lives
Although you expect your team members to function professionally, allowing space for sharing personal lives can contribute to better interactions, according to Inside Jobs Coaching Company. Set aside five minutes at staff meetings for team members to share something positive from their personal lives: the birth of a grandchild, a new dog, moving into a new house or taking up yoga. Create a culture where appropriate humor is welcomed to defuse stressful situations; you can create norms by laughing at yourself or finding something funny in ordinary situations.
Generate Dialogue Through Facilitated Discussions
When new teams form, dialogue and debate might be stifled by politeness, anxiety or overly active participants, according to the International Association of Facilitators. Facilitating discussions can help you model expectations for discourse or brainstorming. When team members see that you genuinely respect and invite differing opinions, they’ll feel more comfortable with positive-minded disagreements that can deepen discussions without teetering into power struggles. Accommodating different ideas in a peaceful, productive way reminds team members that relationships come first; unpopular or risky ideas won’t result in negative interactions on the team.
- University of California, San Francisco: Chapter 14: Team Building
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Performance Management
- Inside Jobs Coaching Company: Ten Ways to Create a Positive Work Environment
- International Association of Facilitators: Building Trust Among Members of a Work Team: One Facilitator’s Experiences
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