TEAM BUILDING THEORIES
Team building has been defined and viewed from many different perspectives by theoretical gurus. We simply define it as ''a facilitated intervention that enhances organizational effectiveness and goals through the enhancement of individual role clarity and teaming skills.'' This means that it is any form of facilitated activity that requires the members to perform cohesively with each other. A simple equation would be:-
Individuals Talents + Teaming Skills Objectives = Team Building
DEFINITIONS OF TEAM BUILDING
Buller (1986, cited in Salas et al. 1999 p311) simply describes team building as
'A means of intervention facilitated by a third party consultant who develops the problem solving capacity and solves major problems of an intact work group'.
Meredith Belbin is arguably the most recognised psychologist in the field of team building exercises. By picking out 'typical features' of employees it is possible to segregate a whole work force using Belbin's model, allowing managers to clearly see the strengths and weaknesses of that type of person.
Belbin's model can be used for forming groups or to identify teams that are likely to work well together. This process will maximise potential performance as the team has all of the correct ingredients for success.
Tuckman's Team Development Theory
This is a widely recognised theory segmenting the four stages of development a team will go through before reaching synergy. Before being able to move on to the next stage of development, teams must overcome issues within their respective stages. The four stages is explained below:-
The team is assembled and the task is allocated. Team members tend to behave independently and although goodwill may exist they do not know each other well enough to unconditionally trust one another. Time is spent planning, collecting information and bonding.
The team starts to address the task suggesting ideas. Different ideas may compete for ascendancy and if badly managed this phase can be very destructive for the team. Relationships between team members will be made or broken in this phase and some may never recover. In extreme cases the team can become stuck in the Storming phase. If a team is too focused on consensus they may decide on a plan which is less effective in completing the task for the sake of the team.
This tends to be a move towards harmonious working practices with teams agreeing on the rules and values by which they operate. In the ideal situation teams begin to trust themselves during this phase as they accept the vital contribution of each member to the team. Team leaders can take a step back from the team at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility.
Not all teams make it to the Performing phase, which is essentially an era of high performance.
Performing teams are identified by high levels if independence, motivation, knowledge and competence. Decision making is collaborative and dissent is expected and encouraged as there will be a high level of respect in the communication between team members.
Adjourning & Transforming
This is the final phase added by Tuckman to cover the end of the project and the break up of the team.