Having your team create their own Team Charter is a one of the best team building strategies you can use. It will help you develop effective, productive teams in the workplace.The steps involved are outlined below.
It is ideally completed when a team first gets together, but it can still make a positive impact if done at a later stage. Give your team the time they need off the job to get this done, if you want strategies like these to work.
This is a short paragraph which defines the essence of a team. Get the team members to work in pairs or small groups to come up with suggestions and vote on the best.
For example, is your team primarily focused on building customer relationships? or getting things done with a fast turnaround? or working in a fun, relaxed atmosphere? Or encouraging creativity?
Find out what values and behaviours are really important and focus on that.
Look at the outcome you want to achieve from the team. What are the short term and long term goals that will help you get there? Write goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-framed).
Are you aware of the skills and knowledge of the team members? They may be using skills outside of work that you are unaware of, for example working in community groups or coaching sports teams. They may have interests such as creative writing, graphic design, debating and so on that might be relevant to the work of the team.
Decide who is going to take on the various roles in the team. What skills and interests do they have and how can you put them to best use?
You may want to have team members complete a Belbin Role Questionnaire, which aims to find out what role best suits each individual, for example, a co-ordinator, a shaper, an implementer, a specialist, a completer and so on. For more information on this team building strategy, Click here.
The team discusses and agrees how they will
conduct and behave at meetings
share information and communicate with each other
make decisions and hold themselves accountable as a team
support each other and foster commitment
encourage creativity and innovation
Some examples of ground rules: members will be able to speak without being interrupted, mobile phones or laptops are not allowed during meetings, meetings will start and finish on time and so on.
I keep a small toy in front of the table during meetings. If a ground rule is broken, the team member takes the toy and presses it on the table. It makes a funny noise, so it is a light hearted way to get the message across about ground rules.
Most team building strategies require you to consider your stakeholders carefully. These are individuals or groups external to the team that are:
a) in a position to help the work of your team
b) in a position to block the work of your team
They have power over the team, interest in the team, or a degree of both.
It may help to place them in one of the four quadrants shown below:
When you do this exercise, you may find that there are people that you hadn't previously thought of that need to be informed or involved.
Consider how you will manage your key stakeholders. Communication may take time and effort, but it is likely to lead to more successful teamwork in the workplace.
Have team members discuss their own tasks/responsibilities and share with the rest of team in a group setting. That way everyone is clear about the work being done. You can document and circulate to all members if it makes sense.
Team building strategies, such as creating a team charter, require an investment in time. There is an old saying that "one minute spent planning saves ten minutes later".
In the course of this work, you are likely to find that relationships between team members will strengthen as they get to know each other. This will help you through any difficult stages in the life cycle of the team.
Click on What is Teamwork to learn about the stages of team development and how the team leader can support a team through it's life cycle.
Click on Team Building Techniques for some teambuilding exercises and ideas for team motivation. This will help your team work more productively together.
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