View Full Version : Team building initiatives

15-10-2007, 10:56 PM

I have encountered a problem in our office, we seem to have a bad mix of personalities. The office is fairly unstructured, which means that the people we have in there need to be able to work unsupervised most of the time. This was working well until we had a new recruit put into this section who doesn't work well with everyone else. Now there is a lot of fighting and tension. The managers don't seem to want to get involved, which means that I need to find some kind of solution to help these employees discover common ground and get along. They are all fairly strong personalities which doesn't help when they have set their minds to the fact that they don't like each other.

Does anyone have any suggestions for some kind of team building excercises that may help?

25-10-2007, 03:59 PM

Just a thought - I think you have bigger problems than introducing team building activities. If your managers don't want to get involved - then you have a huge issue around spending time and money on their development. One of the key ways to build team morale is manager-led initiatives. Its all well and good for HR to try and introduce off-site fun days and social events, but if your managers don't believe in it or are in denial about the issues, then whatever you do will never work. Sorry to be a pessimist but its true.

12-11-2007, 05:57 AM
Hi Pegasus70,

There area number of things that you can take initiative on. One important one would be to begin stabilising the group by recognising that an important part of team development is a common focus/goal that is bigger than any one person. If this is clarified then people at least see a choice in the matter. This would also be an opportunity for the "new Kid" to link into the group rather than get people offside.

The next step would be to begin sorting out why people are bothered/upset by the new person. It is important that this is a clear and behavioural as possible rather than just "I don't like them." If there is ground to negotiate then there is room to improve. This is also an opportunity to provide some coaching for the new person and some of the informal leaders of the "gang." Ask them all to look for common ground and bring people together to sort out issues rather than let then blow out of control.

There are a number of group activities that you can undertake to help get to the underpinning issues, however it will be important to at least get management support to take an hour or two rather than wait for the implosion. I don't know what your experience level is with these kind of things, but it is solvable if people want to work it out.

14-11-2007, 02:50 PM
I agree somewhat with both SJR and Redvoll - back to some situational leadership/management and group development fundamentals (with one caveat):

The direct line managers of the staff in the problem area have to be part of the solution. It is their job! All very well that the group has been working unsupervised most of the time - now that has changed (see point 2). The line managers should be the ones providing the direction, coaching and support (they sound like they've been really good at the delegation ;-) These managers may need HR support; rather than them dumping the problem entirely on HR.
Team development will need to feature - the introduction of the new member has thrown the group back to a lower level of "maturity" (recall: forming, storming, norming & performing?).

A focus on individual (and group) coaching and problem solving would be a good starting point; then complimented possibly by a reminder about policy and process if the going gets tough (show, tell, do!).

My caveat is about whether the new recruit was a good choice in the first place. Capitalising on team diversity, educating the team and promoting interaction amongst its members are all important, however if your organisation hasn't chosen the right people in the first place, then this may become evident during the efforts mentioned above.

13-07-2009, 11:34 AM

We can actually experience a lot of tension and conflict in the workfield. This is common everywhere and as an employee or employer we should be alert in every way. We should be peacemakers to every colleague.

That's why team building activities were made so that employees will get inclined to each other's attitude and somehow will build bridges and gaps to each one.

I hope this somehow helps.:)

02-09-2009, 03:17 PM
Pegasus 70,

That's never a pleasant situation. But I can strongly recommend a new book that could help the managers involved to take charge of the situation. In this book, I learnt that recent neuroscience breakthroughs have shown the contagious nature of emotions in a team - so even if just one person is frustrated or angry, others in the team pick up and 'take on' that emotion subconsciously. Fortunately, a leader (as opposed to just a manager) can take action to prevent this negative emotion becoming a cancer in the team. There are a set of steps leaders can follow to create team unity and develop high-performing teams.

The book is called 'Scores on the Board: the 5 Part System for Building Skills, Teams and Businesses.' It's a life and business fable that gives the reader the tools to improve individual, team and organisational performance. It's based around a simple 5 part system – by regularly following the process, teams become self-managing and self-sufficient. And team members feel valued, and become more engaged.

I agree with a previous comment about the team needing a common focus - the first and most fundamental part of the system is Team Vision. It not only motivates and galvanises the team, it also provides a focus for all future activities.

You can download the first chapter for free at: Scores on the Board - The Book (http://www.scoresontheboard.com/thebook).

Hope this helps with your dilemma!