Team Building Basics for The Workplace

Every employee belonging to a team or work group develops ways of interacting with each other. And for the team to function effectively, much focus is needed on interpersonal communications among members as well as with managers and employees outside to the team. A team’s success is determined by how a team decides, assigns work, and holds members accountable. If you want your team to become successful and effective, team members should form relationship guidelines or team norms.

What are team norms?

Team norms are a set of guidelines that a team establishes in order to shape the interaction of team members with each other, as well as with employees who are outside of the team. These norms can be developed during beginnings of the team’s establishment, or can be done on an early team meeting if it has already been established, with more norms added as the team sees it fit.

Team norms are used to guide the behavior of each member, and to assess how well they are interacting. It also enables members to call each other out on any behavior that may be seen as dysfunctional or that is impacting negatively to the success of the team. And although members may not really mean to harm the team, but the lack of an agreed-upon framework of interaction creates the potential for misunderstanding and negative conflict.

Team norm essentials

It is usual for teams to have trouble with certain components of interpersonal communication and interaction. Developing norms in these areas is much needed to ensure team success. Here are examples of team norms in several aspects of team interaction.

Team members as coworkers – Regard all team members as equal, and each of their opinions will be thoughtfully considered. All members will keep all commitments by the agreed-upon due date, as well as agree to constantly assess whether they are honoring their commitment to the team norms.

Team members as communicators – All team members will speak respectfully of each other. In doing so, they will not talk down to each other, will positively recognize and thank each other for team contributions.

Team members in meetings – Everyone in the team should listen without interrupting. They should hold no side nor argue. They are required to attend meetings on time and always work from an agenda. Minutes will be recorded at each meeting, and end the meetings on time.

Team members as leaders – Leadership of the team will rotate monthly so everyone will have a chance to hone their leader skills. If the team has a fixed leader, the second-in-command will be rotated.

Team members as they interact with other employees and managers – Members will have to make sure that they have agreed on what and when to communicate with other employees, including managers. Complaints about team members must be addressed first within the team.

Team members as problem solvers and decision makers – Decisions should be made by a consensus on all team members. However, the majority will rule if timely consensus is not reached. Meanwhile, conflicts should be resolved with the persons involved in the issue.

 
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