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Creating Healthy Teams

Effective Team Building in the Forest or the Workplace

Almost two years ago, I joined a voluntary team for forestry work. We were a diverse (some may say quirky) group, who all attended for different reasons and came with varied levels of knowledge, experience and skills. I’m now the second longest-standing member of the team, and have seen a lot of changes. Just like in a corporate setting, as the seasons changed and people came and went, so did the essence of our team.

Team Dynamics and Evolution

In these two years, our forestry team has transformed. New members brought fresh perspectives, while departures took away established norms. We now stop for tea half-way through the session, have a later lunch yet finish after lunch rather than continuing afterwards. This constant ebb and flow of personalities and skills reshaped our approach and methods. For example, one knowledgeable team member starts the day by marking the trees to coppice which means the rest of us can work with confidence. It's a clear demonstration of Tuckman's Team Development Theory, in practice, which is explored in the "Practical Team Building" course. This course emphasizes that effective teamwork doesn't happen by chance, AND that every time a team member changes the team itself is created anew. Teams need to be built through understanding team development stages and implementing practical actions at each stage.

Parallels in the world of work

In the corporate world, teams undergo similar transformations. Each new project, leader, or team member can shift the dynamics. Recognising this fluid nature is crucial. The "Build a High Performing Team" course spotlights the characteristics of exceptional teams, exploring the five dysfunctions that hinder team performance and strategies to overcome them. Like in the forest, corporate teams must adapt and evolve to maintain efficiency and effectiveness.

Managing evolving teams

Managing these changes requires proactive leadership. Regular, open communication, and role redefinition are key. Leaders must recognize the stages of team development and guide their team through them, rather than hoping things will sort themselves out. Creating a high-performing team involves understanding the team's position on the performance curve and taking specific actions to enhance performance.

Practical Tips for Healthy Work Teams

To keep a team healthy and thriving, consider these tips:

  1. Regular Check-ins: It's important to touch base often. Think of it like having a quick team huddle now and then to make sure everyone's on track and any issues are sorted out early.

  2. Open Communication: We should always feel comfortable sharing our thoughts and ideas. It's all about being clear and open with each other, which helps nip misunderstandings in the bud.

  3. Continuous Learning and Development: Let's keep learning new things. Whether it's a course or a new skill, it keeps us all sharp and ready for whatever comes our way.

  4. Celebrate Successes and Learn from Failures: We need to give ourselves a pat on the back for the wins, big or small. And when things don't go as planned, let's take it as a lesson and keep improving.

  5. Utilise the Unique Talents Each Person Brings: We all have our strengths, so let's make sure we're using them. It's about finding what each person does best and letting them shine.

  6. Effective Delegation: Matching the right person with the right task is key. It's not just about sharing the workload, but making sure everyone's doing what they're good at.

  7. Conflict Resolution Strategies: When disagreements pop up, having a plan to sort them out respectfully really helps. It's about finding common ground and keeping the team spirit strong.

  8. Feedback Culture: Regular, helpful feedback can do wonders. It's all about helping each other grow and get better at what we do.

  9. Inclusive Decision Making: Getting everyone involved in decisions can really make a difference. It brings in different viewpoints and helps everyone feel valued.

  10. Well-being and Work-Life Balance: Keeping an eye on our well-being and making sure we're not all work and no play is important. A happy team is a productive team.

Teams, like forests, are living entities, constantly changing and growing. Embracing this evolution and actively managing it is key to maintaining a vibrant, effective team. For more insights and practical steps, check out the "Practical Team Building" and "Build a High Performing Team" courses available at Power Hour AND if you add another module right now, you’ll get 1/3 off in the Black Friday Sale.

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