Teams are vital for organizational success. Perhaps that’s why John Maxwell’s phrase, “teamwork makes the dreamwork,” (2002) is still being used today. One of the reasons why teams are so important is that they benefit from a greater variety of skills, abilities, and perspectives, than when individuals are working on their own.[i] Teams are often more productive and more resilient than individuals working separately.[ii] However, not all teams are as effective as they could be. Team building is a valuable intervention that can cultivate strong teams. Leadership assessments like SIGMA’s Leadership Skills Profile – Revised™ (LSP-R™) assessment can supplement this process.
In this guide, we will walk you through the importance of teams, the need for team building, the value of leadership assessments, and how you can use the LSP-R to run a powerful team building workshop. For a PDF version of this guide, click the download button below. For access to a PPT deck of slides you can use to run your team building session, contact us.
The Importance of Teams
A team is a group of individuals who work interdependently and have shared responsibility for common goals. Teams can be used when projects are too overwhelming for any given individual in terms of time pressure, workload, or the required expertise. Strong teams are typically made up of employees with a diverse set of skills in order to capitalize on a variety of unique and sometimes differing perspectives. Team members often have specialized roles, and tasks can be delegated accordingly.
When teams are working well, they can accomplish more than a group of individuals working separately, given the same circumstance. This reflects the emergent nature of teams. Emergent properties exist when the total is greater than the sum of its parts. In terms of teamwork, emergent properties are present when teams can achieve more together than those individuals could on their own. Emergent properties are also referred to as ‘synergies.’
Teams are important not only due to their synergistic benefits, but also because they are more resilient than independent workers. Researchers at Stanford found that teams persisted 64% longer on difficult tasks than people who were working alone. Team members also reported higher levels of engagement and success, as well as lower levels of fatigue.[iii] This is especially important in the face of evolving, increasingly complex organizational problems.
Clearly, effective teamwork is valuable for organizational performance. However, creating a strong team requires more than simply putting a group of employees together. Team building can be a useful intervention to establish team roles and responsibilities and facilitate communication and coordination patterns that are vital for team success.
The Need for Team Building
The success of a team depends on how individuals work together, not just on who is a part of the team. A group of independently “great” performers may struggle to work as a team, whereas a group of “bad” employees may in fact work very well as a team. In order to become a functioning team, groups require team building. Some teams may seem to flow more effortlessly than others, but all teams can benefit from team building and practice.
What is Team Building?
So, what is team building? Team building refers to any process that allows individuals to function better as a team. This includes popular work events such as retreats, workshops, training, and activities, which emphasize bonding and skill-building. Team building can also be implemented in a more traditional setting as well, such as through regular meetings and building healthy relationships.
Team building can also help in cultivating trust,[iv] which is a significant determining factor of team performance.[v] Research has demonstrated that employees in a high-trust environment have more energy, are more engaged in their work, and are less stressed compared to those in low-trust environments.[vi] Overall, team building is a valuable intervention for developing strong teams.
Team Building with Leadership Assessments
Leadership assessments can enrich team building by helping employees better understand their strengths and development opportunities. By building this self-awareness, employees can uncover potential blind spots and boost their confidence, motivation, and performance. Within their work teams, they can learn to play to their strengths and capitalize on growth opportunities. Team members can then delegate tasks more effectively and intentionally address development areas.
Ideally, organizations should use an assessment that is built on an evidence-based model of personality. It is also important to look for an assessment that measures job-related traits and demonstrates strong reliability and predictive validity. The LSP-R does just that.
About the LSP-R™
The LSP-R is a scientifically valid assessment that evaluates employee potential on 50 leadership competencies. These competencies are sorted into four broad categories: Cognitive Leadership Skills, Interpersonal Leadership Skills, Senior Leadership Skills, and Personal Leadership Qualities.
The LSP-R can be completed online in 25 minutes, and test-takers receive a Focus Report summarizing their scores immediately upon completion. The LSP-R’s Focus Report guides employees through their results, including strengths and developmental opportunities. These development opportunities do not necessarily indicate a lack of ability, they are competencies that may not come as easily to those employees. The report also provides templates and activities that help readers identify development areas and create a personalized action plan for development.
Overall, the LSP-R is a practical, convenient, and robust assessment. Below, we outline how the LSP-R can be used for team building.
How to Use the LSP-R for Team Building
The LSP-R can allow employees to better understand their strengths and developmental areas. They can share these with their work teams so that team members can delegate tasks accordingly. This can involve playing to individual strengths or intentionally providing opportunities for growth.
To use the LSP-R for team building, follow these steps:
- Try the LSP-R: First, familiarize yourself with the LSP-R and the Focus Report. You can try the LSP-R for FREE or review a sample Focus Report.
- Introduce the LSP-R to the team: Next, introduce the LSP-R to your employees via email. Briefly outline what it is, how it will be used for team building, and provide a link to take the assessment (you will receive the link when you complete the application form to create an online account and get access to the assessment).
- Schedule a group session: Once everyone has completed the LSP-R, schedule a group session. This is meant to be an engaging learning experience for team members that will help them to build personal relationships with each other, thus strengthening group dynamics. It will also set the foundation for individual and team development.
The following meeting agenda can be used to lead a team building session based on an employee’s LSP-R results. We also provide a few additional tips for facilitating the session.
|Introduction||15 mins||Icebreaker activity General discussion of LSP-R results|
|Focus Activities||60 mins||Select top developmental opportunity Consider goals, opportunities, and support|
|Talent Profile||15 mins||Reflect on strengths and developmental opportunities Share with team members and create a team profile|
|Action Plan||15 mins||STOP, START, CONTINUE activity Importance of setting SMART goals|
|Debrief||15 mins||General discussion of competencies Next steps|
Tips for Facilitating a Team Building Session
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to running a team building session:
- Schedule the session during work hours. Remember, strong teams are vital for effective organizational performance, so do not give your employees a reason to skip the session.
- Whether you are delivering the session in-person or virtually, familiarize yourself with the space or online platform. This will help you appear confident and comfortable, which will help build trust and allow others to be authentic as well.
- Last, but not least, ensure that you have a deep understanding of the session objectives. Know the content, the materials for activities, the timeline, and the dynamics of your team. Take a moment to review everyone’s LSP-R results as well (you can do this in the administrator’s portal online). And be sure not to skip the icebreaker activity!
SIGMA Can Help
Are you ready to use the LSP-R for team building? We can also provide a detailed agenda for leading a group session and how to use the LSP-R as described in this article. You can contact us directly for more information.
Speak with one of our experts. We’re always happy to chat!
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[i] Carr, P. B., & Walton, G. M. (2014). Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 53, 169-184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2014.03.015
[iv] Shuffler, M. L., Diazgranados, D., Maynard, M. T., & Salas, E. (2018). Developing, sustaining, and maximizing team effectiveness: An integrative, dynamic perspective of team development interventions. Academy of Management Annals, 12(2), 688-724. https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2016.0045
[v] De Jong, B. A., Dirks, K. T., & Gillespie, N. (2016). Trust and team performance: A meta-analysis of main effects, moderators, and covariates. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(8), 1134–1150. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000110
[vi] Zak, P. J. (2017). The neuroscience of trust. Harvard Business Review, 95(1), 84-90. https://www.emcleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/hbr-neuroscience-of-trust.pdf