Principles of Team Building

June 30, 2014

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Organizations that are efficient and effective understand and leverage the value of teams. Team building takes a lot of work and leadership energy, but the impact can be astronomical on an organization. What are some important principles of team building? There are many, but here are a few principles I have picked up over the years working with teams.

  • Individuals or groups don’t drift into team effectiveness; team effectiveness is always an intentional process by an intentional team leader.
  • Team development is a journey, not an event.  Like any process, it demands lots of evaluation and practice.
  • Team development is a philosophy that understands teamwork is not teamPLAY rather it is: teamWORK.  The reason for a team’s existence is not to make the job easier, but the results bigger and better.
  • Effective teams need a climate that is conducive to growth.
  • Use the work to build the team.  It’s as the work is being done that the team emerges. Like an athletic team reviewing game films, the team constantly evaluates its performance and asks, “How did we do? What did we learn? How can we do it better?” As these disciplines are being leveraged, the team is being built.
  • The purpose of a team is to accomplish an objective and to do so at exceptional levels.  Teamwork is not an end in itself, but rather the means to an end.  Ultimately, the success of team building will be judged against end results.
  • Teamwork is not easy nor is building a team easy. It takes a lot of time and leadership energy to build a team. But the end results are much better because Collective I.Q. was leveraged in the process.

What principles of team building would you add?

This article was adapted from Pat MacMillan’s book “The Performance Factor.”

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