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There is No “I” in “Team”

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By Amy Hoffman 

 Team building in any program rarely happens by itself. As a team leader (whether of an entire program or of a classroom team), you should plan ideas for team building that focus on efforts to bring different personalities together. 

 You can generate many ideas for team building to resolve conflict and raise a team that complements and balances each other: 

  • Every team member must have a clear and complete understanding, and the acceptance of the goals of the team.
    • Have an open meeting with your team members to build trust. To build a good team, you need to be loyal to them if you expect the same from them.
    • Let the whole team take part in the decision-making process, especially in matters that affect team consensus and commitment.
    • The more the team member feels his or her contribution has led to the final solution, the more he or she will be committed to the plan.
    • Your ideas for team building should ensure that all team members are kept fully informed and that there are no lines of communication that are blocked.
    • Do not allow interpersonal issues between team members to blow out of control. Deal with them as soon as they rear up.
    • Be sure to give positive feedback; this will empower team members. 

 Here are some ideas you can try during a staff meeting: 

  1. Create a fun scavenger hunt for classroom teams to complete. The team that can laugh together and can work toward a fun common goal will enjoy working together when situations are busier.
  2. Conduct trust walks. Participants pair up. One person has their eyes closed, and the partner needs to verbally direct them around obstacles. This is an exercise in trust and in listening.
  3. Play telephone charades. Line up in teams. The person at front of each line is shown an action (“going skydiving”, “washing a baby”, etc.). They act it out to the next person in line, who in turn acts it out to the person behind them, etc. The last person needs to guess what the action is supposed to be. This can lead into a discussion of team goals and communication.
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