November 25, 2008

Five Team Building Myths

Successful organizations recognize the importance of high performance teams in avoiding wasted time, wasted effort and wasted money.

This does not mean, though, that the people in these organizations are aware of the many team building myths that have gained acceptance over the years.

Here are five common myths that you should recognize and resist:

Team building is an event.

FACT: Too many managers and team leaders believe that holding off-site team building events is all there is to building an effective team. But, while some of these events can be useful in strengthening team bonds, they are but one component of an effective team building strategy. The key here is to never forget that team building is a process made up of many discrete events.

MYTH: Team building is designed to eliminate conflict and disagreement.

FACT: Eliminating conflict and disagreement results in a “group think” mentality that ultimately stifles innovation and achievement. An effective team is one that has learned to manage conflict and disagreement in a constructive manner.

MYTH: Only managers and team leaders are responsible for building teams.

FACT: It’s true that managers and team leaders are responsible for assembling team members and for their output, but they are not solely responsible for turning those individuals into a team. Each team member has a stake in the process of building an effective team. They must master the skills necessary to function as a team, even when the manager or team leader is not present.

MYTH: Team members must like each other.

FACT: In a perfect world, that would be true. But in the real world it is entirely probable that some of your team members will not get along on a personal level. The key is to recognize and acknowledge these conflicts and to work with these team members so that they can maintain a workable professional relationship

MYTH: A team that starts strong will stay that way.

FACT: While you may succeed at building a team that excels in the first two stages of teambuilding – forming and storming- that does not mean that the team will continue to excel as it moves through the last two stages – norming and performing. Teams typically fluctuate amongst the four stages, particularly when new members are introduced or when faced with unanticipated challenges.

Accepting any one of these five myths as fact can have a tremendous negative impact on your chances of team building success.

Recognizing them for what they are and taking appropriate steps to eliminate them from your team building beliefs, on the other hand, will lead you to focus on more effective methods for building a strong, high performance team.

Doug Petch PhotoDoug Petch specializes in helping organizations and individuals create the synergies in team building, leadership and communication skills that lead to sustained profitability and long-term success. He is also the host of the popular Sixty Second Success Seminar, an audio program focused on the tools, tips and techniques that anyone can use to navigate their path to success. Website:

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

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