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Team Building Question

How do you disband a team effectively?

Team Building Question

How do you disband a team effectively?

This might seem counter-intuitive, but an overlooked team building question is how you learn a team’s disbandment. 

Many teams come to their natural end when they’ve achieved their original purpose. 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’s easy to forget that disbanding a team is also about capturing the positives, and learning from the negatives. These can then be put to good use when building the next team.

Continuing our series on stages of team development using our STAR team model, in this article we consider the team building question that’s perhaps rarely asked: how do you disband a team effectively?

Teamwork principles using the STAR Teams Model

Star Team Model

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
Learning from team disbandment

Disbanding a team means capturing the positives and learning from the negatives. So doing it 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 questions around each of elements of the STAR team model. For example:

  • How well did the team do in achieving its 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 could be improved by learning from mistakes or missing out on team objectives?
  • 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?
  • What are team members now able to do that were not possible before the team assembled?
  • What opportunities have been created from developing strengths and/or gaining new skill?
  • What comes next as a result of this?
  • How well did the team develop?
  • What helped make teamwork work?
  • What caused any issues or problems?
  • What new process skills for team working have you developed?
  • What things did you enjoy doing together as a team?
  • If you were starting the team again what would you change?
  • How did the team leader align results, team and individual strengths?
  • What styles of leadership did the team find particularly valuable?
  • What improvements could be made in team leader approach or performance?
Team Stages

The next thing to do is to review the team in relation to the team stages model. Think about what went well and what went poorly in each stage (from formation, development, achieving performance to sustaining performance).

  • Which stage do you think the team reached?
  • Why?
  • What helped and what hindered in progressing through the stages?
  • What could have been done better?
  • What have you learnt for the next team?
Environmental factors

The STAR team model also prompts us to think about how teams are affected by their environment. This means both in relation to its parent organisation, and beyond. Now think about the team’s performance and results in relation to the rest of the organisation.

  • How did the team benefit other teams and the wider organization?
  • What organizational processes, structures and procedures helped or hindered 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?
  • What factors beyond the organization have affected the team’s performance?
  • How can they be mitigated in future?
A Final Team Building Question

Team building questionOne of the central themes of this site is the importance of managing well-being at work. It therefore shouldn’t surprise you that our final team building question is to explore well-being in a team by asking: when did you feel most fulfilled during the lifetime of this team? Think about what made you feel good 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.

Building better teams

Teams e-guidesIf you want to put our teamwork concept into action, you’ll find more information and a wealth of practical resources, in our colossal Team Building Bundle.

Containing 240 pages and 50 tools, these are the 8 key guides we recommend to help you do more than define teamwork, build it!

Why is Teamwork Important
Build a Better Team
The Problems with Teams
Team Health Check
Team Building Exercises
Leading with Style and Focus
What’s the Problem?
Making Better Decisions

Further Reading

Teamwork theory
Teamwork in the workplace
Teamwork defined by strengths
Team goal setting
Define teamwork
Benefits of teamwork
Teamwork theories
Teamwork quotes
Teamwork concept

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