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Team Building Concepts

Developing a team

Team Building Concepts

Developing a team

Central to most team building concepts is the ability to take a group of individuals, with a range of strengths, and create a team.

This article is part of our stages of team development series based on the STAR team model. Whilst every team and context is different, team building concepts provide a basis on which to develop your approach to developing a team.

Team building concepts using the STAR Teams Model

Star Team Model

The STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four aspects are considered – Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment and Results:

  • 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.

A different emphasis and focus for each of the STAR model elements is needed at different stages of the team’s development.

At this stage of beginning to develop a team you will have already used team building techniques to form the team such as:

  • Establishing the purpose of the team and agreeing the results the team needs to produce.
  • Identifying the tasks needed to be fulfilled.
  • Allocating roles and responsibilities based on strengths.
Developing Teamwork

However, at this point team members will have only just started to develop their roles and may be unclear or uncertain of how everything comes together.

Whilst during the development phase it is still important to maintain and reinforce the focus on the results the team needs to deliver (which was established in the formation phase), the primary focus in this phase should be on developing teamwork.

Working with your team to build teamwork is central to developing an effective team. To begin developing a team ethos you may want to use a teamwork definition activity with you team. This will help to build a shared understanding of the team’s definition of teamwork: what it understands teamwork to mean. It may also be valuable to use our benefits of teamwork activity. This helps you take the next step, working out how the teamwork you’ve defined can deliver the results expected of the team.

In this phase, team building concepts need to:

  • Build and focus on teamwork values.
  • Clarify how things are done in the team.
  • Identify clear roles in the team and support the team in fulfilling them.
  • Encourage participation.
  • Manage conflict by open fair problem solving approaches.
  • Ensure communication is effective.
  • Clarify individual agendas and how they fit/don’t fit with the teams goals.
Dealing with Conflict

It’s important to be aware of possible negative effects, especially a drop in performance, which can arise from confrontation. Defensive behavior can detract from the team purpose. Differences may well surface between individuals during the team development phase which were hidden during the start-up phase, when people were getting to know each other.

Keeping the focus on teamwork and the purpose of the team are important at this stage. It’s useful to have discussed the idea of team development stages with the team, and the likely way people might feel or act at different stages. This allows you to talk about how arising differences might be dealt with, and how to overcome these with agreements be reached within the team. Team openness, inclusion and collaboration are essential elements of effective team building.

One of the team building concepts which might be valuable to use is to encourage a positive view of differences. One way to do this is to balance advocacy with inquiry, or perhaps more succinctly, argue as if you are right and listen as if you are wrong.

Encourage the team to practice presenting their perspectives, as openly and as persuasively as they can. Then identify how these have been interpreted and understood by other team members. Doing so helps develop a culture of hearing and respecting that others in the team may well have a different view. And that their view might be a better one than yours!

The stage of development, from a group of individuals towards a functioning team, is certainly one of the more demanding team building concepts. Its main focus is to bring people together as a team and to develop teamwork. In doing so the required results of the team, and what it is they’ve been formed to do, need to be reinforced. At the same time you need to encourage team members to identify as a team, and begin to see each of their individual strengths can come together.

Having focused on the team building concepts associated with developing the team the next step is to build a performing team. If you 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 teams, a good place to start might be to ask yourself: why is teamwork important. Or you may want to think about how you define teamwork or reminding yourself of the benefits of teamwork.

Build a Better Team

Teams don’t just happen, they need to be built! Discover the team building ideas that can help you build a better team. Our comprehensive yet easy-to-use guide will show you how to: start well; build the team; create a team that performs; and lead a team that can sustain high performance.

Build a Better Team e-guideIn this e-guide we’ve put together a range of team building ideas, especially structured to help you build a better team. A comprehensive yet easy-to-use guide, it will show you how to:

  • Start well – get the basics right and you’ll have a head-start on building a cohesive team.
  • Build the team. Take a group of individuals, with a range of strengths, and make them into a team. Developing a group of individuals into a team is certainly one of the more demanding team stages, but it’s not enough.
  • Create a team that performs. Performance requires individuals to excel in what they do for the team.
  • Lead a team that can sustain its performance and exceed expectations.
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