Team Building Techniques
Starting up a new team
Starting-up a new team
One of the most important team building techniques is that of starting-up a new team. The first question to ask yourself is what kind of team are you starting?
If you’re building a new team then this article is very relevant for you. Even if it’s not a completely new team, it’s probably worth thinking about these techniques if membership of an existing team has changed by 30% or more.
This article will also help if you’re taking over leadership of a team that is already established. Especially if you read it alongside teamwork tips for taking over an existing 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, these team building techniques will provide a basis on which to develop your approach to starting-up a team. The STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four elements (Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment and Results) are in place:
A different emphasis and focus for each of the STAR model elements is needed at different stages of the team’s development.
The primary emphasis during the start-up stage is to establish clarity about the results expected of the team. Teams with clear and meaningful goals established early on, develop much more quickly and effectively.
Here are some things to focus on during the team start-up stage. Help your team set meaningful results by:
This leads to the second strand of team building techniques needed during the initial team forming phase: recognising the individual strengths of team members.
Some suggested activities to develop the strengths within a team are to:
There may be concern during this initial stage from team members about whether they have the skills to achieve the results. If this is the case then a focus on individual development may also be important at this stage.
During the first stage a focus on the goals and the results expected of the team will start to bring people together. Time should be given to start to develop relationships in the team, especially to recognize each others strengths and begin to see where they can complement each other.
The team leader’s emphasis is to bring the individuals together, aligned behind a clear sense of why the team exists. The emphasis is placed on developing clarity with the team of the results you all want to achieve, whilst ensuring that individual strengths are brought together and individuals begin to develop relationships together.
Almost before you start to form a team there are some important questions to ask about the environment in which the team will have to operate.
One problem area with team formation is when teamwork is not encouraged or valued and the team leader tries to force and drive performance. We discuss this negative stage in our article Lack of teamwork – forcing rather than forming a team.
Starting up properly is perhaps one of the most important team building techniques and it is crucial to begin with a clear sense of what results you want to achieve as a team, and that they are meaningful and significant for the team members. Get this right and you have a jump start on building a cohesive team.
Having formed your team the next set of team building techniques you’ll need is to develop the team. You will find more ideas and resources by reading through our collection of 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 thinking about why teamwork is important. Or you may want to reflect on how you define teamwork or remind yourself of the benefits of teamwork.
If you want to put our teamwork techniques into action, you’ll find more information and a wealth of practical resources, in our colossal Team Building Bundle.
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