Team Building Techniques

Starting up a new team

Team Building Techniques

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.

Team building techniques

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:

  • Individuals flourish as they use and develop their Strengths.
  • People come together and build 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 on the team’s goals.
  • 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.

Team Building Techniques – Results

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:

  • Setting and establishing the vision and purpose of the team.
  • Defining a clear sense of identity and purpose.
  • Developing goals and desired results with the team.
  • Determining what’s meaningful about those goals: to the team, to the organisation: to other stakeholders.
  • Discussing any relevant factors which may impact on the team’s goal setting, and begin planning to achieve them (use SWOT, PESTLE and problem solving techniques to help here).
  • Establishing the range and order of tasks the team needs to perform, in order to achieve the agreed results.
  • Identifying who will be doing what: how, why and by when.
  • Confirming the goals and intended results with others in the organization.
Team Building Techniques – Strengths

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:

  • Select and identify team members based on clear strengths.
  • Determine what skills and strengths are needed to achieve the results of the team.
  • Start to find out how you can best make an individual’s strengths contribute to the results the team needs to achieve.
  • Explore what the team needs to be good at doing.

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.

Team Building Techniques – Teamwork

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.

Team Building Techniques – Alignment

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.

Other influences

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.

  • What are the relationships with other teams, and their goals and results?
  • Do you have any choice over team members?
  • What strengths are needed to achieve results in the team?
  • What needs to be put in place in the organization to support the team?
  • Does the team involve other organizations or partners?

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.

Jump Start Building a Cohesive 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.

Team Building Techniques at Your Fingertips!

Teams e-guidesIf 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.

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

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