So by now we understand what makes a group, how interpersonal relationships work, and the ways different leadership styles affect groups. But how can team building exercises help improve these components of teamwork? The final step in this journey of understanding the psychology of teamwork is figuring out what takes task groups from being a loose collection of coworkers to a strong and effective team. Let’s first look at the life cycle of a team.
The concept of a team “life cycle” has been around since the 1950s, and has become somewhat standardized into 5 separate stages. These stages of the formation of a team are as follows: forming, storming, norming, performing, and transforming.2
Forming is a pretty easy stage to understand. Teams come together at this stage and begin to figure out how they fit into the group. During this stage it’s important for those in leadership positions to encourage team members to get to know each other. Ice breaker games, or other methods of cultivating familiarity between colleagues will be especially effective at this stage.
The next phase, storming, is when conflict tends to arise within a team. Team members are beginning to get comfortable with their roles in the team, and may begin to push back in one way or another. There may also be personality conflicts between team members that will arise at this stage. MBTI training or opening paths of communication may help significantly at this juncture.
Storming can overlap with the next phase in the cycle, norming1. During the norming stage, teams begin to hit their stride. Team members may begin to explore social connections outside of the professional environment. It’s not unusual, however, for a new conflict to arise that brings the team back into the storming phase. This stage is an ideal time to encourage socialization with a teambuilding activity like a scavenger hunt or other interactive entertainment. Teams will benefit from the strengthening of the social bonds already in progress, as well as practicing communication in a more relaxed environment.
The performing stage is when everything within the team is working exactly as needed. Team members are working well together, and everyone clearly understands their roles and are working towards the team’s goals with efficiency and enthusiasm. Interpersonal relationships between the team members are strong, and everyone is comfortable with the role of their team leader. During this stage, teams can still benefit from having their bonds reinforced, which makes it a perfect opportunity to give back to their communities. Doing charity work together will help reinforce the feelings of camaraderie and good will among the team members.
The final stage, transforming, can occur for several different reasons. For example, a team may complete a task or reach a goal they have been working towards. This can require changes in roles within the team, or perhaps the transformation of the team into something all together different. Some teams dissolve at this stage, while others reorganize and begin working on a different project. Another thing that can prompt the transforming stage within a group are changes within the make up of the group. Team members may leave or join, changing rolls within the group. The shift in group dynamics may be dramatic enough to push a team back to the forming stage, at which time the cycle starts over again.
Understanding these different stages of the life cycle of a team can help us understand why team building experiences are as effective as they are. Studies have been done on the subject, and the findings all point towards the effectiveness of team building.
“Our findings are encouraging—team building improves team outcomes; that these team-development interventions are beneficial to team functioning is the good news.”3
This study also stresses the importance of understanding exactly what kind of team building a team needs, as certain styles may be more effective based on the desired outcome.
Luckily, here at TeamBonding, we are happy to help potential clients address their specific needs to achieve a desired outcome. We truly believe that team building is the key to a successful, well performing workplace. Contact one of our sales reps to learn more about how we can help you succeed in the future!
2. Nazzaro, Ann-Marie, and Joyce Strazzabosco. Group dynamics and team building. DEVELOPMENT 4 (2009).
3. Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C. S., Lyons, R., & Goodwin, G. F. (2009). Does team building work?. Small Group Research.
Team building: It is a very common term that is often discussed in many organizations today as a means of trying to get employees to accomplish common goals. Although the term itself may have developed a more negative meaning over recent years, Forbes Magazine says, “Team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration.” In order for this to happen, you have to be innovative when coming up with team building activities. Try to think past the often used group picnic idea, and implement team building practices that will allow employees and coworkers to use their strengths to bring better, long-term value to your business as a whole.
Don’t have the big budget for a team building extravaganza? No worries! We’ve got you covered with plenty of Do-It-Yourself Team Building Products you can choose from in our DIY Store. You don’t always need tons of time or money for a big team building activity or retreat.
In this series of articles, we take five minutes to chat with a member of the TeamBonding team so you can get an idea of what sort of people we are. In this installment, we talk with Matt, our Warehouse Manager, who makes all the magic happen by packing and shipping the materials needed for every event! We discuss what he does in his free time, favorite foods, and bucket list!
Giving back to our communities makes you feel good, assists in making you more socially aware and helps you bond with your colleagues as you team up to help those in need. Charity is beneficial for both humanity and business for many reasons. When you participate in Corporate Social Responsibility team building activities, you get the best of both worlds.
Imagine if you will, that it’s 2006 again. The housing bubble has just burst, and the US economy is teetering on the brink of what will end up being the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. People are scared for the futures of their companies, and are cutting corners at every possible turn. No one is very eager to spend money on team building.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the idea that a company or corporation has a moral obligation to give back to their community. Some companies are more aware than others when it comes to the importance of corporate social responsibility. One of the most notable is Haagen-Dazs, an ice cream company that prides themselves on using all-natural ingredients. What then makes for an effective CSR program?
The workplace can be stressful at times and it’s important for employees to step outside the office to recharge. With summer generally considered to be a more carefree time, it’s a perfect season to host a company outing. Summer outings can be entertaining, but also establish a more interactive and positive workplace. Summer is right around the corner, and this is a great time to consider your outing plans! Find out how to get a jump start on planning your summer outings for companies below!
Ice breakers and puzzle games have their place, but sometimes you just want to get together as a group, and play. Here at TeamBonding, encouraging play is what we’re all about! When you play as a team, you develop and strengthen social bonds, which makes working together a more rewarding experience all around. With this in mind, we’re excited to share a free game for you to play with your team the next time you need to relax and have some fun.
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