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Building And Using Good Teams In The Workplace

3148 words - 13 pages

At the MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory a research study was conducted in an attempt to find out what factors make an effective team. Researcher Alex “Sandy” Pentland (2012) first sought out companies with multiple teams that were comparable, but had fluctuating performance. He then outfitted these teams with socio-metric badges. These badges, which are also known as sociometers, automatically measure face-to-face interaction, body motion, and vocal features among other things. Through multiple studies and the analysis of this data Pentland suggests that communication is the single most important factor of an effective team.
The study goes on to detail some of the observable communicative characteristics of these successful teams. Active listening, face-to face energetic conversation, and engagement were some of the traits found. Improving the quality of organizational communication should be a priority when building a team. Providing employees with opportunities to engage one another, and the freedom to communicate frequently are a couple of ways to accomplish this.
Teambuilding Activities
Teambuilding activities can be defined as engagements that develop cooperation and trust within a work unit, with the ultimate goal of increased productivity in the workplace. These activities commonly referred to as teambuilding exercises can range from icebreakers, company outings, and brainstorming sessions to bringing in a motivational speaker. A mini industry full of companies exist that offer B2B teambuilding services.
Below is a chart illustrating some of the common teambuilding activities of major corporations, information was gathered from company websites.

One question that arises when a company contemplates involvement in teambuilding activities is, do they work? Our sources indicate that multiple resources are used in organizing teambuilding efforts. Inevitably these efforts will cost an organization money and time. The monetary cost range from teambuilding exercises to bringing in a speaker. Time costs could include anything from planning the engagement to the potential time employees may be away from working. Company leaders want to know what will be the return on investment of these exercises.
Currently as much as 70% of workers in the United States are not engaged in their jobs, (EHStoday.com). This staggering statistic indicates that without teambuilding activities, which help employees to buy into the company's focus and directives as well as work more productively with one another, workers are typically performing less effectively than they are truly capable of.
Teambuilding activities, as evidenced from the info graphic below, are one tool that employers can use in order to increase collaboration, help to build trust within the team, and reduce conflict in the work place. All of these factors will help to improve employee productivity within any given workplace.
Using Teams
Building a team and using a team are uniquely...

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