Team building or Team development? Both!
- Posted by Matteo Milanesi
- On 29 June 2021
- 0 Comments
Team development is less recognised than team building, but it really is the key difference between a good team and a cohesive, high performing, successful team.
Creating a team imbued with the true team spirit, which is not simply a group of skilled people working together, takes time and commitment. It is therefore pointless to expect the magic to happen right from the start or pretend that it will happen overnight effortlessly.
A team is made of people and the relationships that develop between them. Therefore, relationships between teammates, as with all human relationships, need to be supported, strengthened, adjusted constantly and team-building exercises alone may not be sufficient. Team building exercises at best, may serve to maintain the unity of the group and boost morale. However, this is only one factor, which contributes to high team performance, and only if considered in the broader context of team development.
Asking the right questions
Before getting your staff involved in mountain excursions for the day – trust-building exercises – or in an afternoon’s paintballing session, you need to ask the right questions: why does my team need to do team building exercises? What do I hope to achieve from this activity? Do I need to strengthen relationships between colleagues? Do I need to resolve internal tensions? What undermines the cohesiveness and the efficiency of my team? Why is now the right time?
Answering questions such as these is essential if you are going to make the right choice and find best solution to meet your staff needs. Taking your team on an excursion to the lakes for an entire day will certainly make them feel valued, help them relax, enjoy each other’s company and create nice memories. However, it will not help junior members earn the respect and consideration of more senior colleagues who have more experience. It will not teach them how to communicate more effectively and resolve tensions in a more constructive manner.
In this context you need to deploy team development initiatives, which is different from team building, due to the end goal, duration and the impact on individual team members. Team development is a way to develop the team, make it more open to change and has a lasting effect.
- Helps members of the group get to know each other on a more personal level
- A specific event or exercise
- Intense but short in duration (a few hours or a whole day for instance)
- Generally a surface activity (no exchange of views, for instance, if there is friction between two colleagues in the workplace)
- Helps group members grow, strengthens relationships over time and teaches them how to overcome problems
- Becomes a part of normal working practices and a long term plan for development
- Focuses on the problems the team may be facing and how to resolve them
- Raises awareness of the impact each member has on the group
To put it succinctly: team building is an opportunity to have fun while team development is a commitment.