I was a member of a management team at my old job as a student manager for one of the food courts on my college campus. This team of students was responsible for helping to manage the food court on a daily basis. This means that they have to work together in as an efficient and organized team. Promotions were done once a semester meaning that once every semester new members were added to the team and some leaving due to graduation. After every promotion the team building phase had to be restarted. The new managers would not initially have the same sense of belonging to the team and that we were all in it together. However it did not take long before the team began to really operate like a team.
This team building phase for any team, whether in a work place, sports, education or any other setting, is very important. There is a temptation some times to try to skip or rush through this stage of team work. Levi highlights this in his book Group Dynamics for Teams (page, 348-351). The stage of team development builds trust and a sense of belonging among the team members. When the team is able to begin to function as a true team they can accomplish much more than as individuals. There is also more satisfaction among the team members knowing that they can rely on each other to accomplish the overall goal. This team environment allows the each member to work towards their strengths allowing the team to go farther than just the individuals could go on their own.
This experience has given me practical experiences building teams. In the future when I find myself in a situation that involves teams I will know to allow for the team building stage. I will know that this stage is very important to how well the team will work together and how well the final goal is accomplished. It is not just a nice potential step if the team has time but is essential for true success as a team. There are many different ways to go about the team building stage but however your team decides to go about it, it is essential.
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Levi, D., Group Dynamics for Teams 4th edition, Sage, print, 2014