For the senior executives the Team building program will provide opportunities for all managers to come together. Usually the demands of the corporate rat race, e-mails and conflicting challenges between departments’ results in misunderstandings that may not wholly represent the individuals they are working with. Team building sessions provides opportunities for senior managers to step back and be involved in activities that will allow senior managers to get to know one another in a personal way. I completed a training program recently for a group of civil servants. Towards the end of the day, very spontaneously one team member walked over and hugged another member of the team. That spontaneity puzzled me as the team explained; they had a nasty conflict prior to the session at the work place. As you can see, it provides opportunities to enhance interactions and break down the walls of pre conceived perceptions and judgments about one another. It this instance it patched up a conflict.
Organizations with Senior Managers whom we worked with
For senior managers team building activities designed with the business goals in mind, will get all team members on to the same page. It creates opportunities for all departmental heads to pull in one direction to meet the challenges facing the organization. It sets the tone and expectations. Managers walk away from such a program with a determined mindset to follow through on their goals and timelines they need to achieve them. Moreover, inter disciplinary collaborations with departmental heads breaks down silo thinking.
In our design, our experience have shown us that when senior team members are able to share their personal traits, behavioural preferences at work and their leadership styles, they tend to come closer. Use of profiling tools such as Belbin, DISC and leadership insights provides senior managers with subtle and tacit information that is useful to both the individual and when shared as a Team, it becomes impactful. We have helped departments to chart their Team’s best competencies using Belbin.
Patrick Lencioni, in his book, the 5 dysfunctions in a Teams, detailed, “absence of trust” as the core building block of a dysfunctional team. Hence, building trust by not just taking on a random activity by playing games or simply listening to hot air to get motivated, but through the use of profiling tools and sharing that information amongst senior management team is hugely beneficial. We have experienced this in our training programs.
Differentiating management from staff is very much dependent upon learning outcomes, organizational size and operational needs of the organization to name just a few. For instance not all organizations can shut the work place down for one day and get the entire staff together for the team building session. Likewise, when strategy is discussed, the needs are usually for the senior team members to be together as oppose to the entire staff. However, there are benefits to have both the senior management team and the entire staff to be together. As organizations grow, the tendency for senior managers to not know their entire staff well enough becomes apparent and team building activities involving the entire staff will allow managers to interact firsthand with their staff who handle operational issues on the ground. There isn’t one matrix that will suffice, but having a different permutation of staff with line managers, senior managers only for strategy planning and senior managers with the entire staff are some approaches that we consider and suggest to our clients when we develop our training programs.
Ebnu Etheris, Ma(IDT), B.Ed&Trn and D.(HRD)
Lead Facilitator, TeamworkBound