It’s easy in team settings to get so focused on performance, planning, and budgets that you forget the single most important factor in productivity and in people’s sense of satisfaction on the job: relationships among colleagues.
Good relationships rarely happen by chance. They happen by choice, when people choose to do stuff that facilitates friendship and connection. Good leaders know this and make it a priority to plan activities that build relationships and to incorporate them these plans into ongoing organizational life.
There’s a bunch of ideas for team building on this page of the Human Resources Today website.
Recently a trainer wrote me about how pleased she was with her experience leading a conflict styles workshop as a teambuilding exercise with a small group of colleagues. She used this outline in designing a short workshop on conflict styles with Style Matters Online.
Team members particularly enjoyed, she wrote, the section of their score reports that offers suggestions for bringing out the best in themselves, given their own style preferences. (See a sample of that in this demo score report, about halfway through) She guided them in using an exercise on our site, “Create a MySupport Page: A Page of Tips about You for People You Live or Work With”.
In this exercise, each person creates a list of suggestions that others could follow when approaching them for a discussion about a difficult issue. She wrote that sharing these lists within the team brought a lot of intense and very useful discussion. The group found the whole exercise so useful that they requested that another larger group of colleagues also be included in a similar event.
The use of conflict styles training as a team building tool before the eruption of crisis is far more effective than waiting till things are exploding. People learn and retain info better when they are relaxed. It’s deeply satisfying for team members to participate in a positive experience of joint discovery and planning about how to bring out the best in each other – far more so than trying to rebuild after things have gotten intolerable.
Plan now to add a two hour workshop to your calendar for the coming year. The rewards for a modest investment of time can be huge in terms of increased morale and performance!