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Managers often refer to employee engagement and team-building as essential elements in retaining high-calibre workers. The advantages and disadvantages of team-building are clear: without a team-building premise, employees may feel adrift and lack necessary supervision; the disadvantages of team-building can make some employees, e.g. entrepreneurial ‘rain-makers,’ feel stifled or tied to the hip of a less-able to perform administrative manager.

Building a positive team culture requires clear goals and great communications skills. An overview of some of the pros and cons of team-building include:

Successful team-building delivers advantages. 

Team-building management skills are highly valued in the workplace. When the manager helps the team come together, he always manages change. He identifies the change facing the team and presents his findings to the team. He continuously manages those team members resistant to change. Importantly, he communicates how the changes create opportunities for individuals and the team. Managers know they’re team-building because:

1. Great teams allow participants to collaborate with management leadership. According to authors Robert Barner and Charlotte Barner, (“Building Better Teams,” 2012) team building develops individual and group accountability by focusing on individual and team success. The successful team-building manager must overcome the sense of “vague” commitment barriers within the team. She must lay out team ground rules and actively promote boundaries within the team. Building a team shouldn’t involve including each team member in others’ action plans. Careful project management within the team allows individuals to commit to the performance of certain tasks. Team meetings allow the manager to check-off performed tasks and reached goals.

2. Each team member’s action plan distinguishes between the intention to perform needed tasks and the actuality of performing them. The manager should use ‘real-time planning’ methods whenever possible, to keep the team’s focus on what needs to occur now (instead of any future point).

3. “What’s next” thinking is the team’s language. Every team member continuously clarifies the vision summary and organizes action priorities. Team members can’t wait to react. Employee engagement occurs because members of this manager’s team can’t wait to get to work every day. They are encouraged by their leader’s ability to decipher org changes or macroeconomic trends. Employee satisfaction is evident. The successful team isn’t static, and remains fuelled by management trust.

Unsuccessful team-building delivers disadvantages. 

Almost every employee with at least five years’ work experience knows an unsuccessful team-builder in management. Perhaps the manager is a finance genius. She’s great at tweaking costs and saving money, but she doesn’t understand why people want to work together. According to Patrick Lencioni, (“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable,” 2010) this manager doesn’t see the big picture or the details. Managers know they’re failing at team-building when:

1. Too many internal team meetings populate the calendars of the team: the manager tends to micromanage his reports, and everyone on the team knows who’s got credibility with the manager (and who doesn’t). The manager breeds distrust and fails at facilitating collaboration. He seems to enjoy clipping the wings of those seeking to soar. People in sales and marketing positions spend too much time answering the manager’s questions or creating reports. Productivity suffers and the manager points fingers at the team. People call in sick and human resources gets involved with performance reviews.

2. Senior management hears that every member of the manager’s team is an underachiever. The manager decides she’s just got to lay-off a few people and rehire “her own people.”

3. Political unrest occurs in the team. The manager seems to encourage time-wasting. Positive reinforcement by the manager does not happen. Ever. Employee satisfaction is non-existent. Everyone on the team, including the manager, is looking for a new job.
Employees want to work with others in teams because they enjoy social behaviour. Not all teams come together without masterful management orchestration. The successful team-building manager is hands-on, but not too much. Team-building is an advantage because employees desire positive reinforcement. In conclusion, satisfied employees are happy, long-term contributors of the organization.

GUEST AUTHOR: Louise lives in London and is a human resource’s professional. She loves writing and on her free time contributes to several blogs besides her own thepensionsinsider. Louise also loves the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning and swimming on England’s west cost in the summer.

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the Founder and CEO of HR Knows

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