Team building is the use of different types of team interventions that are aimed at enhancing social relations and clarifying team members’ roles, as well as solving task and interpersonal problems that affect team functioning.
Team building was originally a group process intervention aimed at improving interpersonal relations and social interactions but over time has developed to include achieving results, meeting goals and accomplishing tasks.
There is consensus and conceptual clarity about what team building constitutes exactly. The four components are:
Goal setting: emphasizes setting objectives and developing individual and team goals. Team members become involved in action planning to identify ways to achieve goals. It is designed to strengthen team member motivation to achieve team goals and objectives.
Role clarification: emphasizes increasing communication among team members regarding their respective roles within the team. Team members improve their understanding of their own and others’ respective roles and duties within the team. The team, and how best to use it, allows members to understand why clear roles are important. The members should also realize that they are interdependent and the failure of one team member leads to the failure of the entire team.
Problem solving: emphasizes identifying major task-related problems within the team. Team members become involved in action planning, implementing solutions to identified problems and to evaluate those solutions. They practice setting goals, developing interpersonal relations, clarifying team roles, and working to improve organizational characteristics through problem-solving tasks. Interpersonal relations management: this intervention emphasizes increasing teamwork skills (i.e. mutual supportiveness, communication, and sharing of feelings). Team members develop trust in one another and confidence in the team.
Environment: teams are not closed systems. It is critical that they interact effectively with their external environments. Teams need good diplomatic relationships with key managers, union officials, other teams, and the functions that affect their performance. Team members must feel free to disagree with each other during team meetings but should present a united, positive front to the rest of the organization.