It is important to know why you are organising for team working or building a team before you begin. Team building has been one of the many popular 'fads' in management practice, and consequently people may adopt the idea of team building as a good one in all cases. Management fads are like the hula-hoop or the skateboard. They pass in time and can do more harm than good. Team working, when inappropriate, is no exception.
There are a number of considerations with regard to whether relationship building amongst employees is appropriate or necessary. These can be offered in the form of indicators:
- The first thing that will indicate whether teams are appropriate is the nature of the work itself. Teams tend to perform better when they are involved in carrying out tasks that have clear short- or medium-term objectives. Where the work can’t be broken down in this way, teams can be destructive.
- The second indicator for team performance is the nature of the work environment and the management style which is accepted. A 'strong' management style where the team leader needs to 'tell' people or where the leader is very influential may not assist in team development. Leadership in a small group may have very different characteristics to the generally accepted model of what a leader or manager does. If you are unhappy to relinquish power to the group, then team building may be inappropriate.
- The third indicator is the individuals who make up the team and the way in which they communicate. Teams do not need to be made up of similar individuals and diversity can be an advantage in developing high-performance teams. Where the work requires little communication between employees, there is little reason to develop teams.
- The final indicator is the nature of the environment. In an organisation that is structured by departments or where individuals concentrate on individual tasks with little relation between employees, it may be inappropriate to consider team building.