Debunking Team-Building Myths – Part 3

Debunking Team-Building Myths

I challenged three team building myths in two past blog posts:

Debunking two final myths will contribute to helping you use your The Leadership Gift™ and prepare you to productively play on any team.

Myth #4: Everyone in your group must understand the same team-building system.

I admit, there’s a benefit to having a common language and tool kit. However, Myth #4 is too easily and frequently offered as an excuse by professionals coming off of an unsuccessful or unpleasant team experience.

These people claim that they knew what everybody on the team should have done (thus excusing themselves from the team’s failure). But they couldn’t make the other members do it because those other members didn’t have the same team training (management’s fault!). Thus they could not work together. This justification for failure is similar to, “I got put on a bad team.”

From a Leadership Gift viewpoint, these excuses are just that — excuses. Think about it: if teamwork occurs naturally (it does) and if Energy and Direction are the two measures that a team is built (they are), then anyone can initiate a conversation about direction (“What should we be doing together?”) and energy (“what’s in it for each of us to do this?”) and include everyone in it. No more sophisticated team-building processes or techniques are required.

Myth #5: A team that gets built, stays built.

Most professionals have been taught that the four stages of team productivity include Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. The model implies that a team gets on “the track” at Forming and runs right on around the track to Performing.

But, does a team always move on a track from Forming to Storming to Norming to Performing? No! If so, one could guarantee high performance on every team! In my experience (and yours too, I bet) teams don’t stay built.

This myth perpetuates event-based team building, i.e., one-off events where professional team builders are hired to take people “away from their real work for some team building” (see Myth #3).

The event produces some alignment and good feelings after which the team builders disappear. The real problem is that the team builders did not teach the team what they did for them (so, it was seen as magic that few can perform), or how to do it again for themselves when they lose energy and direction.

I love my job, but I prefer that every professional understands what it takes to build a team and how to do it so that excuses and professional team builders are not as needed as they are today.

Get Started With This 5-Minute Stretch

Think of a time when you’ve bought into the above myths. How did it let you avoid responsibility for your results? How will you notice these myths at work in the futures?

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Attend the acclaimed Creating Results-Based Teams workshop, or get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Collaboration, Leadership, Teamwork on 03/25/2013 01:00 am
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