Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks. It is distinct from team training, which is designed to assist Managers, Engineers, Supervisors, Leads and General workings to collaborate and work more effective together as a group instead of individuals.
Many team-building exercises aim to expose and address interpersonal problems within the group.
Over time, these activities are intended to improve performance in a team-based environment. Team building is one of the foundations of organizational development that can be applied to groups such as business leaders, leadership teams, sports teams, school classes, military units or flight crews. The formal definition of team-building includes:
- aligning around goals
- building effective working relationships
- reducing team members’ role ambiguity
- finding solutions to team problems
Team building is one of the most widely used group-development activities in organizations. Of all organizational activities, one study found team-development to have the strongest effect (versus financial measures) for improving organizational performance. A 2008 meta-analysis found that team-development activities, including team building and team training, improve both a team’s objective performance and that team’s subjective supervisory ratings.
Setting Goals; This emphasizes the importance of clear objectives and individual and team goals. Team members become involved in action planning to identify ways to define success and failure and achieve goals. This is intended to strengthen motivation and foster a sense of ownership. By identifying specific outcomes and tests of incremental success, teams can measure their progress.
Role Clarification; This emphasizes improving team members’ understanding of their own and others’ respective roles and duties. This is intended to reduce ambiguity and foster understanding of the importance of structure by activities aimed at defining and adjusting roles. It emphasizes the members’ interdependence and the value of having each member focus on their own role in the team’s success.
Problem solving; This emphasizes identifying major problems within the team and working together to find solutions. This can have the added benefit of enhancing critical thinking.
Interpersonal-relations; This emphasizes increasing teamwork skills such as giving and receiving support, communication and sharing. Teams with fewer interpersonal conflicts generally function more effectively than others. A facilitator guides the conversations to develop mutual trust and open communication between team members.