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Best-Practices Leadership:
Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale

Read how businesses of all sizes are getting creative with team-building icebreakers and fun team-building activities in this new report. Don't forget to take our leadership assessment exercise to gauge your own performance as a team manager.


Best-Practices Leadership: Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale!

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From Business Management Daily, the publisher of Executive Leadership: After years of reporting on leadership and team management, we've created this report of our 16 best tips.  

Inside this report, you'll get 16 eye-opening tips on how to improve your leadership team management and motivate your employees. Read case studies of team-building exercises — what's worked and what hasn't.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #1

'Hot' tactics for heating up your team

“Hot teams” improvise, do more work with less supervision and make the extra effort to follow through.

Management consultant Laurence Haughton suggests six strategies for turning ordinary groups into hot teams. Among his advice, Haughton cautions managers not to become too rule-bound. Rules, intended to streamline and safeguard work, can hamstring your operation when common sense calls for exceptions. Before setting rules, ask if they’re really needed.

Get more of Haughton's leadership team management advice on building "hot teams" in Best-Practices Leadership.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #2

Bring the off-site energy of team-building exercises back to the office

Lead an off-site event that leaves your team energized and focused:

1. Know when a team-building exercise is successful. How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal?

When Timberland Co. executives needed to revamp and add new products, they held an off-site event to jump-start things. They invited designers, engineers and marketers from the company to spend one week hashing it out, a process that normally takes years. Result: They met their goals. Says VP Doug Clark, “Having that concrete goal allowed us to walk the line between exploring creative flights of fancy and remaining results driven.”

2. Make sure the team-building exercise relates to solving a real problem.

During Ford’s off-site event, Carolyn Lantz, executive director of brand imaging, gave executives $50 each and put them on a bus to an Old Navy store. “I told them, ‘You have 20 minutes to find and purchase an outfit that you have to wear tomorrow. You are busy people looking for great design at a great price. Those are Ford’s customers.’” The exercise made a point: Ford’s products need to be well designed, but democratically priced.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #3

Fight off team complacency: 5 strategies for making team-building exercises part of your daily routine

Soon after a team forms, the excitement often peaks. Teammates dream of big accomplishments, set grandiose goals and promise to collaborate. But when the initial enthusiasm dies down, the spirited atmosphere fades and a more solemn routine emerges. Here's how to step in and breathe new life into your team if this pattern unfolds at your workplace:
  • Inject new blood. Invite a few high-energy types to join the team. Don't put them in charge or they'll threaten the team leader and the informal hierarchy that's already formed. Instead, just ask them to lend their talents and revitalize the group.
  • Tape the team. When a lethargic public speaker needs to liven up, a smart speech coach will videotape the individual's presentation and play it back. By raising the speaker's self-awareness, the tape serves as a training tool. The same goes when you want to jolt a team to rise to a higher level. Lecturing a team to improve might fall upon deaf ears, but a videotape of their meetings can show them just how listless they've become.
  • Turn your team into trainers. Form a new team, and ask your current group to serve as an "advisory board" to it.
  • Strip away routine. Study how a tired team got that way. Disrupt predictable patterns by having the group meet in new places (a nearby park, a client's facility, your home) and work together in new ways.
  • Host an outing. Invite the team to join you on a weekend hike or family picnic. Schedule fun activities so that participants get to know each other with their guard down.

Discover the five strategies that can help you reinvigorate your team and fight off complacency in Best-Practices Leadership.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #4

Is your team stuck? Get them unstuck with these team-building exercises.

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, one of the first books to define the team phenomenon, still offers some of the best advice for managing them. Find out how to get your stalled team unstuck.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #5

Joe Torre's rules for bringing leadership, team building onto the field

Baseball manager Joe Torre has led far more diverse and ego-driven teams than most of us ever will. Yet, Torre’s teams have won repeatedly, thanks to these four “rules of straight communication” he has developed over the years:

 

1. Remember that every player has a special need for one of these things: motivation, reassurance or technical help. Determine what that need is and meet it.

2. Deliver tightly focused, positive messages, such as a quick word of praise for a good play. Simple words of appreciation are more powerful motivators than many leaders expect.

3. Work hard to establish rapport with team members from backgrounds that are different from your own. It does take extra work, but the results can be extraordinary.

4. Let team members know that you accept the full range of their emotions, including fear and uncertainty. Unless people admit their fear, they will never be able to confront obstacles and grow.


Best-Practices Leadership: Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale!

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Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #6

Tap into creative, fun team-building activities

Find out which fun team-building activities administrative professionals recommend in Best-Practices Leadership.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #7

High-performing teams exhibit 5 traits

An effective team displays five baseline criteria, according to management consultant Patrick Lencioni:

1. Team members trust each other.

2. They deal constructively with conflict.

3. They are committed to doing well.

4. They feel personally accountable for the team’s success.

5. They focus on achieving results as a team, not just as individuals who happen to work together.

—Adapted from The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, Patrick Lencioni, Jossey-Bass

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #8

Is your team the ideal size?

When it comes to the ideal team, more is definitely not merrier. That’s according to researchers who study well-functioning teams. If you’re finding it tough to accomplish much with a team project you’re working on, consider whether you have too many heads on the task.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #9

Why close-knit teams don't always win

Findings suggest that close-knit teams are often less competitive than teams in which camaraderie is weak.

Sociologists at the University of California and elsewhere, who have been studying effective teams, see some compelling reasons why friendly teams finish last.

Find out why a competitive team is often a more effective team in Best-Practices Leadership.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #10

How to refuel a sputtering team

To refuel a sputtering team, redirect the group’s focus away from easy, safe tasks to more ambitious stretch goals.

Motivate them to “think big” by dangling fresh, meaningful rewards for stellar effort. Offer to give each team member a choice of three prizes if the group attains specific, measurable objectives.


Best-Practices Leadership: Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale!

Claim your FREE copy of Best-Practices Leadership: Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale!

 

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Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #11

Dealing with team 'negatives'

If you’re dealing with negative team members, keep the situation under control by taking these steps:

 

Take strong action against them, no matter how popular they are. Giving preferential treatment to someone who’s not delivering results sends a signal that you’re afraid of him—hardly the message you want to send through the ranks.

Avoid politicking against negatives. It’s tempting to try to build consensus against them or express your frustrations to other members of your team. Be careful, since doing so can degenerate into a power skirmish that will erode your integrity as a true team leader.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #13

Caution: 'Fun' team-building activities could land you in court!

Recent case: A California security company staged employee team competitions to boost its sales team’s unity. Part of the exercise involved spanking members of the losing teams with yard signs. Other “fun” punishments: Employees were forced to eat baby food and wear diapers.

 

At least one employee’s morale wasn’t boosted. Janet Orlando quit over the incidents and sued, alleging sexual harassment. A jury awarded Orlando $500,000 in damages for emotional distress and lost wages, plus it slapped an extra $1.2 million onto the company’s tab for punitive damages. Two supervisors who helped concoct the exercise were found personally liable for $50,000 each. (Orlando v. Alarm One, Fresno County Superior Court)

Find out what team-building exercises it's wise to avoid in Best-Practices Leadership.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #14plastic building block pyramid

Fun team-building activities: Bring out the Legos!

Here’s a quick team-building exercise that’s fun and inexpensive … and it won’t take all day:

 

1. Bring out a set of Legos at your next team meeting or at the first meeting of a new team. Look for a set that includes different shapes.

2. Build a structure that represents your team’s project or goal, the work of your group or organization, and the mission and vision that you have established. It could be where you do your work, a piece of art or piece of equipment needed for your job.

3. Allow five minutes to decide your team’s goal or vision and to plan how you’re going to build your structure. Allow 10 minutes to implement your plan and complete your structure.

4. Discuss the following at the end of the exercise: As your group worked to identify its goal, what are some things that helped you be successful, and what are some things that hindered the group? How can you use what you learned?

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #15

Leadership assessment: Improve your team management skills

To strengthen your team’s performance, you probably embrace the notion of continuous improvement. By always looking for ways to teach your team new skills and holding it accountable for steadily better results, you send a message that you won’t accept complacency or a halfhearted effort.

 

That’s a good start, but how about your own performance?

Take Business Management Daily’s leadership assessment exercise to gauge your performance as a team leader in Best-Practices Leadership.

Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #16

Re-energize your team: 3 quick tips

1. Encourage your team to ask you the hardest questions they can think of, not the easiest. That’s what the Dalai Lama asks journalists to do when they interview him. It’s a leadership practice that’s worth copying.

2. Poll your team members to find out where they’d like to see your organization next year, in the next five years and on into the next decade. Post responses on a whiteboard, and use them to brainstorm for a new, shared sense of mission.

3. Keep your team motivated during demanding periods by stressing the personal side. Try a simple statement such as, “Is there anything I can do for you?” It shows you haven’t forgotten the “give” side of “give and take.”


Best-Practices Leadership: Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale!

Claim your FREE copy of Best-Practices Leadership: Team management tips and fun team-building activities to boost team performance, collaboration and morale!

 

We value your privacy.

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