This is an article which aims to give you a working knowledge of team development and help you understand how important it could be for your organisation, as well as giving you places to look if you decide to incorporate this into your company.
Team development itself is fairly self explanatory: the enhancement of the effectiveness of work groups through the use of different strategies and techniques. However, the complicated part is being able to successfully implement these structures into your employees and teams and subsequently improve performance and efficiency in the workplace.
One of the main branches of team development is the process of team building. Relationships between employees and employers are not the only ones which should be secure; fellow employee relations are vital, especially if they are working closely, possibly even on the same project. For individuals who are on the same team, it is vital they possess the ability to understand and be able to control the dynamics and structure of the team. The way for them to be able to work better with their team is to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and for everybody to utilise each others talents and develop the weaker aspects of their business mind. This knowledge can become available to them in team building activities, as they see the personalities and work ethics of the people they are collaborating with.
A crucial factor in well functioning employee relations is the ability to give and receive feedback. If everyone in the team is open to this concept, then multiple opinions can be moulded into one collective improvement plan for an individual to pursue. It also gives them an opportunity to develop their skills for analysing people and seeking room for development, a leadership skill they may be able to boast for the future. Open communication is also necessary in tasks such as problem solving, when different points of view can lead to a faster solution. Finally, although the team leader should eventually try to pass all responsibility to the team members, he should continue to ensure they are working in a non-argumentative and productive atmosphere. Even if a team possesses individuals with a leading knowledge of all areas, if their working conditions are not conducive to effective progress then little development will occur.
If you do decide that a team development programme would enable your organisation to higher its standards and move to the next level, there are several places you can look for expert analysis or external help:
- Susan Heathfield is an organization development consultant who can provide expert knowledge for your research and help your companies teams.
- ACAS aim to improve organisations through better employee relations and team dynamics, raising working standards.
- Train in a Day aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your business through team development courses in which training models and strategies are complemented with expert knowledge to instill confidence in working teams.
Two huge figures in the process of team development are Bruce Tuckman and Meredith Belbin. Separate, more detailed articles on their contributions can be found at traininaday.com, but for now here is a brief overview of their work:
- Tuckman came up with his four stages of development in 1965. Stage 1, forming, aims to take charge of the team and establish objectives clearly. Stage 2, storming, is the first step to building good relationships between team members, with structure and tactics being established. Stage 3, norming, is when the team should be given increased responsibility in reaching their goal and is a good time for team building exercises. Stage 4, performing, involves full responsibility being handed to the team once they reach high performance.
- Belbin came up with 9 team roles that should be filled within every successful business group. Through doing this, it can be ensured that strengths are utilised fully and that weaknesses are managed in such a way that they do not seriously harm team progress. The employees filling the roles can have specific weaknesses, but as long as they fulfil their role in the team to maximum efficiency then the process of development will be definite.
Train in a Day can help develop your team using bespoke team building methods and models such as the Belbin team roles, raising employee and team effectiveness. If you feel team development methods shoud be integrated into your organisation, visit traininaday.com for more details.