Let me begin by saying that there are many approaches to team building that can be effective, depending upon your specific objectives. These objectives may include enhancing communication, establishing trust, improving decision making, etc.
I have been conducting team building workshops for over 12 years and have utilized many different approaches. However, there is one practice that I have found to be the most effective because it addresses all of the above objectives and sets the foundation for addressing most any other objectives you may have with building teams.
1. Start by helping each individual to better understand their core personality Traits, which is defined as how they are hardwired to think and feel.
These core Traits will then predict how they will behave in most situations. And this is the critical component: the more “hardwired” any particular Trait is in an individual, the more this behavior will be considered "normal" for them.
Identifying Traits is easily determined by using many of the personality profiles available. If you want to learn more about assessment tools, please read "What You Need to Know About Personality Assessments" and "Best Personality Assessment Tools."
2. We must learn how our behavior impacts others.
When we read the results of our personality profiles, we are seldom shocked by what we read; we don’t really learn much, if anything, new! The key is to focus on how your behavior impacts those around you and understand that you will be more effective at getting what you want from others if you approach that individual in a manner that they consider to be “normal” behavior.
3. The team building workshop must help everyone learn to let go of their judgments about others due to these unique personality Trait differences and then replace those feelings with an appreciation for others' unique ways of thinking, making decisions and communicating, i.e., how they behave. Realize that their style works for them and your style works for you, and that is OK.
4. Learn when and how to make adjustments in your approach to each team member's unique set of behaviors.
Here's an example:
Introverts' communication style tends to be more serious, direct and factual whereas extrovert’s style tends to be more social, persuasive and verbose. When an introvert receives an email from an extrovert that starts off with “Hello Mike, how are you? I hope that you had a great weekend and are now ready to get back to work, etc.," the introvert is, at this point, just hearing "blah, blah, blah" and is getting annoyed and wondering what this person really wants and when will they get to the point. They may not even finish reading the email, thinking that there is no real content. Conversely, when the extrovert receives an email from the introvert that just says, “Where is the production report?,” the extrovert views that email as impersonal, cold and rude, thereby leading them to not want to rush and get them the report.
When each person understands and appreciates the unique style of the person on the receiving end, they can make minor adjustments to ensure that their message is received in a positive manner, resulting in the recipient taking a more proactive approach to addressing the request. The introvert simply needs to add the extrovert's name to the email, followed with a "please" and "thank you," and the extrovert can adjust by being more direct, leaving out the social element and getting to the point quickly.
Summary: Working as an effective team becomes more probable if you keep in mind that every time you interact with someone, you want something. That want could be just needing to be heard and or having that person respond with some type of action. You will more likely get what you want if you deliver your approach in a manner that they deem to be “right” or in other words, "normal" way of communicating and or behaving.
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Click here if you would like to learn more about Excelsior’s team building program Interactive Dynamics at Work (IDW).
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