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Team Building Question

Team Building Question: How Do You Disband a Team?

An overlooked team building question is how you disband a team. Many teams come to their natural end, usually when the purpose for which they were formed has been achieved. Ending well is as important as starting well with a team, yet it is often overlooked. In the haste to move to the next project it is easy to forget that disbanding a team is also about improving things in the workplace.

Continuing our series on stages of team development using out STAR team model, in this article we consider the team building question that often is never asked: how do you disband a team?

A great deal of energy will have been spent developing a team and delivering the results required of the team, and there will be much to learn from the experience. Here we suggest using the STAR team model as a way to review how the team has performed. As a reminder the STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four elements (Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment and Results) are in place:

  • Individuals flourish as they use and develop their Strengths
  • People come together building relationships that result in effective Teamwork
  • The team leader Aligns the team through effective communication of purpose, so that individual strengths combine with teamwork to deliver the teams results
  • Together everyone achieves more as performance flows and Results that are meaningful and rewarding to the team are achieved

Disbanding a team properly involves:

  • Recognizing the achievements of the team and of individuals.
  • Learning from what you have achieved together.
  • Improving team working and team building processes in the organization.
  • Becoming better at working in teams.
  • Ensuring the ending of one team becomes a springboard to new opportunities

A helpful way to disband a team is to ask a team building question about each of elements of the STAR team model.

Results

How well did you do in achieving your results.
Were the results set at the beginning realistic?
Are there other results the team achieved beyond those defined at the start?
What has improved in the organisation as a consequence of the team achieving its goals?
What are you especially proud of achieving?

Individual strengths

How well did individuals contribute their strengths to the benefit of the team?
In what areas have individuals improved their strengths?
What new skills have been developed?
As individuals what are you now able to do that you were not before working with the team?
What opportunities does developing your strengths and gaining new skills now create as you think about what you are going to do next in the organisation.

Teamwork

How did the team develop as a team?
What helped make teamwork work?
What new process skills for teamworking have you developed?
What things did you enjoy doing together as a team?
If you were starting the team again what would you change?

Alignment

How did the team leader align results, team and individual strengths?
What styles of leadership did the team find particularly valuable?

Team Stages

Review the team stages together (from formation, development, achieving performance to sustaining performance), where does the team think it got to in the team development stages model?
What helped and what hindered in progressing through the stages?
What could have been done better?

Wider organisation

How did the team benefit other teams and the wider organization?
What organizational processes, structures and procedures helped or hinder the team? How should they change?

What is the organization now able to do that it couldn’t before because of the work the team has done?

A Final Team Building Question

One of the central themes of course on “The Happy Manager” is managing work so that we are all happier doing what we do well. It therefore shouldn’t surprise you that our final team building question is to explore happiness in a team by asking: when did you feel happiest and most fulfilled during the lifetime of this team? Think about what made you feel happy about being a part of the team, and how did that contribute to the team performance?

Make sure you recognize and celebrate what you have achieved as a team, before rushing to the next project or problem that needs solving. Doing so will help ensure that disbanding a team becomes a springboard to better team performance and a more fulfilled and motivated workforce.

If you do have the time to read more on this topic, why not go to our teamwork articles. To read more of about our teamwork concept – the STAR team model- see our articles teamwork theories,teamwork defined and teamwork in the workplace. For a more general introduction to team a good place to start might be to think through why is teamwork important , or you may want to think about how you define teamwork or reminding yourself of the benefits of teamwork.

Where to go from here:

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