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Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches-4

Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches Team Building Figure 40 Team Building Cycle

The team building process recognizes two types of activities: 1. Family Group Diagnostic Meetings – aimed at identifying group problems 2. Family Group Team-Building Meetings – aimed at improving the team’s functioning.

Most team development training meetings follow a format involving the following steps:

Step 1: Initiating the Team Building Meeting Step 2: Setting Objectives Step 3: Collecting Data Step 4: Planning the Meeting Step 5: Conducting the Meeting Step 6: Evaluating the Team Building Process
Step 1: Initiating the Team Building Meeting

The team building meeting may be initiated by a manager higher in the organization structure, who is not a member of the team. Whosoever decided, the decision to proceed is usually collaborative. During the formation stage the members of the team will probably discuss the degree to which they support team building. They will also discuss whether a team is necessary given the specific work situation.

Step 2: Setting Objectives:

If a team building meeting is to be effective, there should be general agreement on the objectives before team building proceeds. The practitioner may address some pertinent questions to the work group. These might include: What is the purpose of this meeting? What do the participants and the consultant want to do? Why this group of people at this time? How does this meeting fit into the OD program? What is the priority of this project? Are the team members really interested and committed? What does the team want to accomplish? How will team building be measured or evaluated?

Step 3: Collecting Data:

Some information is already gathered before the meeting, particularly during the diagnostic phase. The usefulness of this information depends on the extent to which it can be specifically identified with the team as opposed to the total organization. The members may be given additional questionnaires to fill out, or they may be interviewed. The practitioner may hold mini-group meetings with a few members at a time or with all the members to gather information.

Step 4: Planning the Meeting:

The planning session will probably be attended by the practitioner, the manager, and a few of the team members. It is important at this point to restate the goals and objectives as precisely as possible, incorporating information obtained during the preceding steps. If the goals are specific behavioral objectives, the remaining work of planning the sequence of events of the meeting will flow more easily and logically. Going through this process will ensure a meeting that satisfies the needs of the participants. Planning for a team building meeting includes the logistics of the meeting, such as arranging for a time and a place. The planning stage will also ensure that all necessary personnel and resources are available.

Step 5: Conducting the Meeting:

The meeting itself usually lasts two or three days. It is arranged at a place away from the work area. Reason being, it helps to put everyone – superior and subordinate – on a more equal level. It also lessens interruption. On the morning of the 1st day, members are encouraged to share their expectations for the meeting and to develop specific norms that would guide their behaviors during the two-day meeting. This process is aided by an exercise in which the group members share their experiences about the best team they had ever worked on and in that way identified characteristics of effective teams. The norms and characteristics are placed on flipcharts and hung on the wall of the meeting room. All members agree to behave according to the norms and to assess periodically how well the norms were being followed. The consultant agrees to provide feedback on norm compliance during the session. The meeting begins with a restatement agreed upon objectives. The data are presented to the entire team, with attention given to problem areas or issues in which the team has expressed an interest, and then the team forms an agenda ranked in order of priority. The team critiques its own performance to prevent dysfunctional actions and improve functional activities. If the members feel that this is an opportunity for them to express open and honest feelings without fear of punishment, the leader of the team may come under attack. The success and failure of team building meeting may depend on how the manager reacts to the situation. Once the team members have resolved their interpersonal issues, and developed a group understanding, they can move on to the task issues that need to be discussed. The purpose is to develop a specific action plan for improving the ways or processes it uses to reach its organizational goals. The first day ends with several unfinished lists of value statements, core purposes, and thoughts. An evaluation of the day was done. An overall rating and comments about the group were made. The next day begins by feeding back the data from the evaluation and the important issues that remain to be addressed. The consultant then writes several important points on a flipchart and asks the group to identify the most important agenda items. Quickly they decide that they wanted to finish the core-values work and then discuss their core purpose. The consultant facilitates the conversation that is now under the control of the group members. Within a couple of hours, the group produces a list of core values, develops a process for involving the rest of the organization in creating a final list of values and crafts a core purpose that describes the essence of the organization. Before the meeting ends, the team should make a list of action items to be dealt with, who will be responsible for each item, and a time schedule.

Step 6: Evaluating the Team Building Process:

At this meeting, the team examines the action items, exploring those that have been or being carried out and those that are not working. It determines how well the implemented action items have aided the team’s operation and what else can be done. It reconsiders any action items that are not working and discards those that seem unnecessary. Items that appear to be helpful may now be given additional attention and support. The team will also explore how to resolve ongoing problems and what can be done to enhance continuous improvement.

The Manager’s Role in Team Building:

Ultimately, the manager is responsible for group functioning, although this responsibility obviously must be shared by the group itself. Therefore, it is management’s task to develop a work group that can stop regularly to analyze and diagnose its own effectiveness and work process. With the group’s involvement, the manager must diagnose the group’s effectiveness and take appropriate actions if the work unit shows signs of operating difficulty or stress. Many managers, however, have not been trained to perform the data gathering, diagnosis, planning, and action necessary to maintain and improve their teams continually. Thus, the issue of who should lead a team-building session is a function of managerial capability. The initial use of a consultant usually is advisable if a manager is aware of problems, feels that she or he may be part of the problem, and believes that some positive action is needed to improve the operation of the unit, but is not sure how to go about it. Dyer has provided a checklist for assessing the need for a consultant (Table 11). Some of the questions ask the manager to examine problems and establish the degree to which she or he feels comfortable in trying out new and different things, the degree of knowledge about team building, whether the boss might be a major source of difficulty, and the openness of group members. Basically, the role of the consultant is to work closely with the manager (and members of the unit) to a point at which the manager is capable of engaging in team-development activities as a regular and ongoing part of overall managerial responsibilities. Assuming that the manager wants and needs a consultant, the two should work together as a team in developing the initial program, keeping in mind that (1) the manager ultimately is responsible for all team-building activities, even though the consultant’s resources are available, and (2) the goal of the consultant’s presence is to help the manager learn to continue team-development processes with minimum consultant help or without the ongoing help of the consultant. Thus, in the first stages the consultant might be much more active in data gathering, diagnosis, and action planning; particularly in a one- to three-day off-site workshop is considered. In later stages, the consultant takes a much less active role, with the manager becoming more active and serving as both manager and team developer. Table 11.Assessing the Need for a Consultant Assessing the Need for a Consultant Should you use an outside consultant to help in team building? (Circle the appropriate response) 1.

Does the manager feel comfortable in trying out something new and different with the staff? Yes No ?


Is the staff used to spending time in an outside location working on issues of concern to the work unit? Yes NO ?


Will group members speak up and give honest data? Yes No ?


Does your group generally work together without a lot of conflict or apathy? Yes No ?


Are you reasonable sure that the boss is not a major source of difficulty? Yes No ?


Is there a high commitment by the boss and unit members to achieving more effective team functioning? Yes No ?


Is the personal style of the boss and his or her management philosophy consistent with a team approach? Yes No ?


Do you feel you know enough about team building to begin a program without help? Yes No ?


Would your staff feel confident enough to begin a team-building program without outside help? Yes No ?


if you have circled six or more “yes” responses, you probably do not need an outside consultant. If you have circled four or more “no” responses, you probable do need a consultant. If you have mixture of “yes”, “no”, and ? responses, invite a consultant to talk over the situation and make a joint decision.

When Is Team Building Applicable?

Team building is applicable in a large number of situations, from starting a new team, to resolving conflicts among members, to revitalizing a complacent team. Lewis has identified the following conditions as best suited to team building: 1. Patterns of communication and interaction are inadequate for good group functioning. 2. Group leaders desire an integrated team. 3. The group’s task requires interaction among members. 4. The team leader will behave differently as the result of team building, and members will respond to the new behavior.

5. The benefits outweigh the costs of team building. 6. Team building must be congruent with the leader’s personal style and philosophy.

When is Team Building Appropriate?

To permit members to gain new expertise and experience and to develop and educate members. To build and enhance communication and interaction, because teams offer increased levels of participation in decisions. To build consensus and commitment on a controversial issue. Group leaders desire an integrated team. To allow more creative discussions by pulling together people of unusual and different backgrounds and interests. Team building must be congruent with the leader’s personal style and philosophy.

Team Management Styles:

There are two main styles of team management. 1.

A transactional, task oriented approach:

Managers view the behavior of team members as an extension of team processes, and they attempt to modify that behavior through punishment and rewards. 2.

A transformational, people oriented approach:

Managers who apply a transformational approach, developing team members’ knowledge, skills, abilities, and careers, rather than focusing on the processes.

The Results of Team Building:

The research on team building has a number of problems. First, it focuses mainly on the feelings and attitudes of group members. Little evidence supports that group performance improves as a result of teambuilding experiences. One study, for example, found that team building was a smashing success in the eyes of the participants. However, a rigorous field test of the results over time showed no appreciable effects on either the team’s functioning and efficiency or the larger organization’s functioning and efficiency. Second, the positive effects of team building typically are measured over relatively short time periods. Evidence suggests that the positive effects of off-site team building are short-lived, often fading after the group returns to the organization. Third, team building rarely occurs in isolation. Usually it is carried out in conjunction with other interventions leading to or resulting from team building itself. For this reason it is difficult to separate the effects of team building from those of the other interventions.

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