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The science of team building and the dynamics of the workplace

At one point or another, each of us has been part of a team. Not finance, not strategy, not innovation, not technology – nothing is as solid of a foundation for an organisation’s success as is a good team.

Team building is a term that all team leaders are familiar with, but not all of them understand. Teams are built; they are not assembled or created. It’s a craft, not a task, and merely putting the right number of people and asking them to reach a set goal is not an effective way of team building.

Team building has been a part of professional realms since long, but as the workplace dynamics change, leadership today includes managing diverse people and teams across different locations and levels. This has changed the traditional and top-down leadership forms which are no longer appropriate for creating and sustaining a more interconnected and closely-knit workplace.

Today, in the same team, it is likely that a manager is someone from the other side of the country, if not the world. This has changed the way team building was perceived and executed until now. Team leaders in a modern-day workplace need to motivate and work alongside different groups of people — who may be from other cultures, countries, backgrounds, perspectives, and values, across time zones and borders.

So how can one make sure the team-building exercises and efforts align with these changes and yield desired results even in the present-day workplaces?

First, we need to understand that present-day challenges are different and, hence, team-building components need to evolve. Concepts like emotional intelligence and empathy are the latest additions to the list of skills for effective leadership. Here are a few other things that you can consider if you manage a team or even if you are a part of one:

A strong team starts with an individual

Always, without exception, look at the basic building blocks, and in a team, that is an individual. Everything is connected — every individual matters, the team matters, and their collective contributions make or break your business goals.

Make sure members are connected and aware

Make sure your team members meet, interact, and know of one another’s strengths. This makes a huge difference as even if your team-building efforts are honest and effective, they will not get you results if there is no real connection among them to start with. So, before executing your plan, know that a little groundwork can give you terrific results.

Ask for feedback and suggestions for improvements

A team works best if everyone has a say. Take feedback, ask for suggestions, and tailor your team-building exercises.

Think short term

Sure, your ultimate goal is to create a stronger work culture, but make sure you don’t get too caught up in long-term solutions. Think beyond yearly appraisals and try to felicitate team members for their achievements, no matter how small. This will have a huge impact on how your team-building plans work out.

From the way teams work to the way teams are hired, things are sure changing in workplaces across the world. It is therefore imperative that team-building efforts see a change too.

Spark Makki is Head of English Content at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |