Friday, October 29, 2010

Team Building and Loyalty

Loyalty means a lot to me. I'm delighted to say that I believe that our team is loyal to one another and the company as a whole. Working for a professional team building company as we do, we get to see all sorts of teams and not all of them have the same degree of loyalty within them that we have.

Indeed, often the reason we have the opportunity to work with them in the first place is to help start the process of increasing the loyalty with a team. I thought I'd write about that.

What we can't do is to fix a loyalty problem at a single event. Loyalty is something that is built up over a long period of time, not something that can be wrapped up into a small package and delivered along with the mail. But we can make a start.

Step one is having the event in the first place. I believe that most people want to be loyal to their team and organisation from the moment that they join them. They join with high hopes and expectations and what happens is that, over time, little things chip away at that desire.

I remember being told on a management training course once that most people are naturally motivated from within and that a manager's job is, in part, to demotivate their reports as little as possible.

I think that is good advice, if somewhat different to the normal guidance that you can find on motivating people. So organising an event that people will enjoy is unlikely to demotivate anyone and can only increase move their loyalty in an upward direction.

Step two is all around the choice of activity. If step one is to be positive, then the option chosen needs to be something that everyone in the team will actually appreciate. That doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to be full of belly laughter from start to finish.

While a "fun" team building day might well be just what the doctor ordered, people often understand that all is not well with the team and can really appreciate a day spent tackling the issues they face. Providing the experience is a positive and constructive one, that is.

An activity that offers a combination of being something different to what people do at work and yet has plenty of parallels to the workplace is a pretty good one. That means offering the team a challenge that needs the same kind of skills and team methodology as they need to be affective at work.

Step three is the team building activity debrief. It needs an experienced facilitator and a structured process that encourages people to speak honestly and without fear of recriminations. The facilitator's job is, in part, to keep the focus on the team and not on individuals while at the same time ensuing all conversation is constructive and productive.

It also needs to specifically touch on loyalty as an issue and generate an action plan that the whole team is committed to implementing back at base.

By : Alan_Hunt

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