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Team Building

In most companies, when you get results, you get rewards. And if you can’t lead teams to success, you’ll end up stuck in a job with no exit. Use this strategic blending of common-sense strategies and implementable team building exercises to build and bolster your winning team…

You want to improve teamwork. So you reward group performance, praise any signs of collaboration and prod loners to become joiners. That’s a good start, but why stop there?

Make sure your team is working more like the Manhattan Project and less like Enron… Use these articles, exercises and strategies to get your team building training up and running!

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Have you drunk your organization’s Kool-Aid? Yes? That’s fine, but remember the difference between your group’s internal image and the way it is perceived in the real world.

When leading teams, resist the urge to overdo it. Some facilitators jump in and play fixer as soon as the group hits a snag. But the team won’t grow if you intervene too soon—or too often.

Some teams struggle to work together. Personalities clash, disagreements intensify and meetings turn into protracted turf battles. When groups become polarized, shake up the status quo. Try these techniques to reverse a downhill spiral so that teams regain their footing.

In 1985, Michael Houlihan co-founded Barefoot Cellars, where he served as president and chief executive for 19 years. Despite launching the company with no money and no knowledge of the wine industry, Houlihan and his partner, Bonnie Harvey, built a global brand in 28 countries with sales of almost 600,000 cases a year.

There is a common misconception that a selfish person makes for an unmanageable employee—perhaps this person will destroy the team dynamic that we all strive for within our organizations? But organizations that don’t pay positive attention to me-oriented employees miss the opportunity to gain highly self-motivated team members who can significantly benefit the organization.

Even though Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, oversees a workforce of about 8,000 people, he spurs innovation by getting out of the way. Rather than micromanage, he prods employees to think like entrepreneurs launching a business.

Savvy leaders induce compliance rather than demand it. To lead others in the right direction, articulate a clear goal and set a time­table for attaining it. Let the conversation unfold in three phases:

As president of Usher’s New Look Foundation, Shawn H. Wilson puts a premium on openness and communication. To drive his team toward success, he asks that employees assume a “no-spin” attitude in talking about problems.

Appreciating team members is one of the soft skills that can drive the hard results you want.

Underlying the list of what needs to get done is the list of what your team needs to get things done. Satisfy those basic needs, build a culture of trust, and people will follow. To build a culture that satisfies basic needs, create a sense of stability.

You can’t be everywhere at once, but you can keep your hand on the rudder. First, make sure your vision is clear and that your people are following it.

While it’s trendy for companies to tear down the corporate walls and declare all employees equal, new research in the journal Psychological Science says teams with built-in hierarchy are more productive than teams in which all people hold an equal amount of power.
To help your troops manage risk and change, help them access the information that will allow them to react well—and without fear—just like the Royal Marines, who have been trained to convert uncertainty (and fear) into well-defined risks.
During the most famous sea battle of the American Revolution, when John Paul Jones uttered his famous words— “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight!”—things weren’t looking good for him and his ship. Another leader might have run. But Jones led through a combination of hope and fear.
Don’t ask your people to perform work they’re incapable of doing. “The only way you can truly appreciate what your team is or is not capable of is to see it firsthand or, better yet, do it yourself,” Mike Figliuolo says.

Being an effective manager means confronting those “challenging” employees who, while typically good at their jobs, too often display unprofessional or downright obnoxious behavior. The best way to tackle such problems is to meet with employees right when you spot the problem behavior. Follow these guidelines, which have the side benefit of protecting the organization from employee claims that they weren’t treated fairly.

Most improv performers could tell you about this crucial rule of great improv: You’ve got to listen to your scene partner. Otherwise, you may miss an important cue or the opportunity to collaborate on a creative idea. It’s the same in the workplace. Here’s an improv activity that’s worth a try:

You may be LinkedIn, but is the talent within your organization linked? When talent can more easily collaborate—and when workers know how to tap into one another’s strengths—the whole organization benefits. Here’s what it looks like in action:

Your essential job as a leader is to help your people reach their own goals in service of the organization’s goals. That’s why you need to set goals col­laboratively. Three reasons:

Measuring output without measuring input is a little like telling a Little League team to score more runs, without explaining how to swing a bat better. That’s why James Slavet, of venture firm Greylock Partners (investors in Groupon and Facebook), believes great teams should measure five metrics:

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