When following the ten steps of team building, managers should know that each step is important and no step can be skipped. The ten steps of team building are used for building a new team, but the steps also may be reviewed when inheriting an existing team.
The first four steps are intended for the manager to do on their own without the team.
1. Getting upper management support. The support of upper management can make all the difference in a manager’s attempts at team building. Upper management needs to know and agree with what team model is being used to help develop the team and why that team model best serves the company. Without upper management’s support, the team will not have access to the resources necessary to help foster its growth.
2. Defining the purpose of the team. The manager must understand why the team is being formed and what it needs to accomplish before meeting with team members. Team members rely on the manager to understand the purpose of the team and to communicate his vision.
3. Identifying time frames. The manager will decide when certain goals in the project should be reached, including the project due date for project teams.
4. Selecting the team members. The team leader will determine which skills are most needed in the team and select members accordingly. Special care should be taken to ensure that weaker members are given the opportunity to learn and grow. Allowing team members to volunteer ensures that a group of committed individuals are working on the project.
Teambuilding steps five through ten occur during the initial meetings between team members. This is the manager’s opportunity to discuss how the team will be composed and how the manager and team members will work together.
5. Introducing team members. If this is a new team, members can introduce themselves and discuss their expectations for the team. If this is an existing team, the team members should communicate any concerns or successes that they feel are important.
6. Sharing the overall purpose. The manager should discuss why the team has come together, its main objective, and how the group’s goal aligns with the company’s overall objectives. Make sure everyone understands what the team is meant to do.
7. Selecting a team name. If possible, allow team members to name the team. The name should echo the team’s goal or work and help establish the team’s responsibilities.
8. Creating the team mission statement and goals. A mission statement identifies why the team has been formed. It clarifies the team’s goals in one or two sentences; it does not need to explain how the team should accomplish its goals. Allow members to come up with a mission statement on their own in order to instill personal meaning and pride in the team’s work. Mission statements help keep the team on target. After establishing a team mission statement, give each team member clear, measurable goals with specific timeframes that align with the team’s overall objective. This allows team members to understand clearly what to do and measure their success.
9. Identifying core team issues. Discussing core team issues is the manager’s first opportunity to demonstrate his ability to assist in team discussion; therefore, the manager must prepare thoroughly for step nine. Issues such as the role of interdependence in the team, resources available to the team, and concerns or questions about the team should be discussed during this time.
10. Establishing team norms. Allow team members to determine how they should behave during team meetings and communicate with one another. Team members are more likely to follow flexible norms that they establish together, rather than norms that are imposed on them. The way a manager leads team meetings will have the greatest impact on team performance and development.