3 Situations When Team Building Is NOT The Way Forward


Team building events can provide a great opportunity for team members to get to know each other better in a non-work activity. Timing however is crucial and there are certain situations where a team building event may not be the best way to move the team forward.

In this article we look at three examples where team building is just not relevant.

1. When Team Is More Social Than Productive

Some teams seem to gel socially. This is particularly common for a team that has started together from scratch and is made up of people younger than 30. In this situation team members tend to know each other quite well and therefore team building will probably not add any value.

It may well be that the team is too social and this may spill over into daily work routines. When this happens people are more interested in talking or preserving out of work relationships than getting the work done. The challenge for the manager is more about discipline and productivity.

2. When Skills Development Is More Important

Teams that experience high turnover in staff often find that maintaining a sufficiently skilled workforce is the main priority. A lack of skills and experience can have a major impact on customers and the output of the team generally caused by regular mistakes.

Concentrating on increasing the skills of new team members is vital for the future success of the team and the wider organisation. If this is not addressed quickly customers may start to leave which organisations cannot afford to happen.

Time, money and effort put into developing the capacity of the team will prove a worthwhile investment in the longer term. Senior and more experienced employees can become official or unofficial team leaders in this case and support the manager by sharing the responsibility for bringing people up to the right standard.

3. When The Issue Is With The Manager

There have been occasions when managers who have experienced problems with their teams turn to team building because they believe that ‘having fun’ together will solve these problems.

In reality it may be that the manager is causing the problems. By being too focused on their objectives the manager may not be providing enough support to the team. This will often result in a disengaged and de-motivated workforce.

When this occurs the manager can improve the situation by taking a step back to see how their own behaviours are affecting the team. Asking for honest feedback from peers, employees and your line manager may help to identify areas that you can work on. When we are too close to the situation we can easily miss the obvious. A general increase in our awareness is required to take off our ‘blinkers’.

Team building events can be a powerful tool for developing a team, provided it is used at the right time in the right way. Always ask yourself ‘What am I trying to achieve?’ ‘What are the key issues in the team?’ and ‘How do I know this?’ Rather than rely on your perception, make objective observations and talk to people.

If you would like help from an independent perspective contact MTD now to see how we can help.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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