Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches-4
Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches
Figure 40 Team Building Cycle
The team building process recognizes two types of activities:
1. Family Group Diagnostic Meetings – aimed at identifying group
2. Family Group Team-Building Meetings – aimed at improving the
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
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
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
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
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
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)
Does the manager
feel comfortable in trying out something new and different with
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
Yes No ?
Would your staff
feel confident enough to begin a team-building program without
Yes No ?
if you have
circled six or more “yes” responses, you probably do not need an outside
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
• 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.
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.
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.