Working on teams is essential to getting things done, but challenges can arise from the very thing that makes them valuable: different points of view! The more diverse the group is, the harder it is to stay connected. The next time you stay with us here at the Endicott House for a team retreat or conference, here are a few ideas to make your meetings a success.
Connect With Difficult People
There may be one or two people who are difficult to communicate with in your group. You might even assume that you have little in common with this person, but don’t be surprised to be proven wrong later. It only takes a few conversations to get past the hard outer shell and see that you have more similarities than differences.
Retain a Strong, Confident Team Leader
There are many situations when it’s necessary to appoint a leader, especially if you’re working with tight deadlines. Be careful of appointing the best talker to leadership because it may be more difficult for them to move the group smoothly from one point to another. Beside the actual work objectives of the group, a leader must keep her eye on helping every member and the operation of the team itself.
Stay on Relevant Topics
Excessive communication is bad communication when you have a specific task to accomplish on your team retreat. It’s natural for us to get sidetracked on random topics. It shows that we really do need to connect as social creatures and establish our place in the group by sharing opinions and testing the beliefs of the other group members. If there is more time, the group leader can allow for this to play out a bit for the sake of “getting it out of their systems.”
Eventually though, it’s time to gain a focus on the task at hand and marshal everyone’s attention to the job. Skillfully moving people back on track is a valuable trait for any meeting runner.
Open up to Criticism
Give permission for critique, but set ground rules that make it safe for everyone and keeps it from getting personal. Keep the focus on things that can be adjusted and accommodated by the group.
What makes the difference between a group of people who are better off working by themselves, and a truly collaborative team? Certainly context helps you discover the dynamics that can make your groups and teams work effectively. When you join us for your next gathering, take some time to address the dynamics of your interaction.