IMPASSE TEAM BUILDING 7
Theimpetus of team building cannot be understated as far as the growthand development of any business entity is concerned. Indeed, it hasbeen acknowledged that individuals working in teams have higherproductivity than their combined effort when working individually.This has necessitated that companies and business entities dedicateimmense amounts of their times and funds in team building activities,which entail an ongoing process that would assist work groups todevelop and evolve to cohesive units. Team members would not only behaving shared expectations pertaining to the accomplishment of thegroup tasks but also trust, as well as support each other. Ofparticular note is the fact that teams are not particularlyhomogenous, in which case there is bound to emerge differences, notonly with regard to the talents, skills and proficiencies ofindividual members but also their likes, preferences, speed and wayof doing things. These differences have the capacity of crippling theprogress and cohesiveness of the group in both the short-term andlong-term, in which case it is imperative that the members respecteach other’s individual differences and preferences. More oftenthan not, the bulk of management of teams falls in the shoulders ofthe team leaders, in which case they must strive to lead the teamtowards increased collaboration and cohesiveness, as well asproductivity in the long-term. More often than not, teams take on alife of their own, in which case the leaders must persistentlymaintain and nurture them on a regular basis just as they would dowith the individual employees. There are numerous team buildingactivities that can be undertaken in any business entity in thecontemporary human society with retreats and other social activitiescoming off as some of the most common and popular techniques.However, it is well acknowledged that the main purpose of thoseretreats is not simply to have a break from the business rather itaims at allowing for the identification of the appropriate ways ofdoing things and eliminating the tendencies that inhibit progress inthe team. The lessons are, with no doubt, aimed at being applied inthe workplace. As noted, team-building activities come as some of themost powerful strategies for uniting group members, addressingweaknesses and developing strengths. However, this can only beachieved in instances where the exercised are not only planned butalso carried out in a strategic manner. Essentially, there must exista real purpose behind the decision to engage in the exercise, whichcould be enhancing the creativity skills or problem-solving in theteam, rather than simply for the sake of giving the team members aday away from the office (Levi,2011).Unfortunately, it is not always the case that teams successfullymanage to build on their cohesiveness. Indeed, there are instanceswhere the progress of such team building activities and retreats ishampered by the leadership skills of the team leader or rather theresultant distance from the same. This is the case for IPAC wherePeter Mathews is having a problem getting the team members andmanagers to participate in the t6eam building activities. Mr. Mathews took up a 6-month assignment as Acting Director of Immigrationcharged with the duty of enhancing the quality of organization, aswell as handling varied management problems. However, each of hisstrategies have been unsuccessful in the team of managers in whichcase they have reached an impasse. The Area and Program managers donot like the idea of having an outsider making any attempt t enhancewhat they consider to be their organization, in which case Mathewshas come up with an idea where he would take the managers on a 3-dayteam building session with the assistance of a talented facilitator,as well as the begrudging acceptance of the managers. Unfortunately,the retreat does not seem to be achieving the desired goals in whichcase he is up on the wall. Essentially, he must make a decisionregarding the options that he must consider and the approach that hemust take so as to enhance the participation of the mangers in othermeetings.
However,the third option comes as the most effective in the team. It involvesgetting a radical intervention so as to get a breakthrough in theteam building between him and the managers. There are varied reasonswhy this strategy is most effective.
First,it sends a message to the managers and team members that their ideasare valuable irrespective of how ridiculous they appear. More oftenthan not, team members fail to participate in meeting in instanceswhere they feel that they or their ideas would not be considered asadding much value to the development and growth of the institution(Levi,2011).Essentially, they leave the team leader with the burden of clearingthe task with little or no participation on their side. This canresult in wastage of time and money in the entity, which would impactits growth. However, allowing managers to field their ideas anddemonstrating that the ideas are valuable sends the message that theteam members are valued themselves, in which case they own theprocess more. On the same note, this amounts to awareness regardingthe unspoken feelings of the employees and team members (Fine,2009).When he invites another radical party to seek the opinions of theteam members regarding what may be wrong with his approach, he isessentially underlining his awareness and respect for the unspokenfeelings, thereby setting an example to them through being open andsensitive to their moods (Levi,2011).It sends the message that he is a progressive leader who strives tosafeguard the best interests of the members, thereby breaking thebarriers that exist between him and the group. Similarly, it comesas an opportunity for Mathew to act as the harmonizing influencethrough the resolution and mediation of minor disputes in an effortto persistently point to the higher goals of the team.
Inaddition, the strategy encourages cooperation and trust amongemployees in the team. Scholars have acknowledged that therelationships established by team members amongst themselves areequally as crucial as those that the team leader establishes withthem (Raynoldset al, 2007).Once the team starts taking shape, it is imperative that the leaderpays attention to the manner in which the team members work togetherand come up with strategies that would enhance respect, cooperation,trust and communication in the relationships (Raynoldset al, 2007).Once the team members have managed to trust the leader and startedcooperating, it would be easy to encourage them to share informationpertaining to their fears and aspirations, as well as give ideasregarding the most appropriate way for doing things in the entity inboth the long-term and the short-term. Of course, it isunderstandable that the team members view him as an outsider,especially since he has been in the entity for quite a short time(Raynoldset al, 2007).In essence, it is his duty to reach out to them and seek ways thatwould facilitate communication through building trust among the teammembers. Communication comes as the most crucial factor in successfulteamwork. The facilitation of communication does not entirely entailhaving constant meetings rather it involves setting an examplethrough remaining open to the concerns and suggestions of the teammembers. This can be demonstrated through asking questions andoffering assistance. The third option comes in handy in theachievement of this goal.
Inconclusion, team building is extremely crucial in the growth andsustainability of any business entity. Indeed, it allows for morecooperation, collaboration and cohesiveness in groups, with theshared efforts being particularly more beneficial to the organizationthan the collective efforts of each individual employees working inisolation. However, the success of any team building activityrevolves around the cooperation between members, in which caseleaders must always strive to enhance this. Unfortunately, Mathews ishaving problems obtaining the right amount of participation from theteam members, in which case his team building efforts are almostcoming to a naught. Nevertheless, getting some radical interventionto obtain a is a perfect choice as it sends the message that theideas of the team members are valuable and that their participationis appreciated. In addition, it eliminates the “outsider” labelfrom Mathew, thereby allowing him to be seen as one of them.
Fine,L. G. (2009). Teambuilding: A guide for the reluctant manager.Charleston, WV: Kick It, LLC.
Levi,D. (2011). Groupdynamics for teams.Los Angeles: SAGE.
Raynolds,J., Chatfield, R., & Outward Bound, Inc. (2007). Leadershipthe Outward Bound way: Becoming a better leader in the workplace, inthe wilderness, and in your community.Seattle: Mountaineers Books.