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All workers endure their share of banal team-building exercises. When it's done properly, though, a successful team-development program can inspire everyone to raise his level of performance. How well a team operates depends on its manager's ability to communicate with its members and relate to them personally. Effective managers also recognize the value of promoting accountability, which also helps in pinpointing internal problems that prevent different departments from working together efficiently.
Define Members' Responsibilities
Not everyone on a team is a star performer. Instead of viewing this situation as a threat, good managers accept the value of capitalizing on different talents to create a united front. This process is hardly easy, when many employees' talents are outside their job descriptions. Capitalizing on this technique requires knowing how to match an employee's skills to his job -- or even a specific project, if circumstances require it.
Focus On Results
Simulation exercises and real-life scenarios provide managers an opening to solve problems. Advocates of this team-development approach see it as a useful way to reinforce what employees are supposed to learn on the job. This approach can pay off in tough economic times. Instead of passively reacting to bad news, managers can focus on the factors that they can control and persuade teams to adopt a similar philosophy.
Give Regular Feedback
Employee teams can't function without consistent communication. Giving regular feedback is a crucial part of any manager's job and ensures that all team members are performing up to expectations. Strong leaders always look for better ways of doing something instead of reacting when problems arise. Feedback can be as formal or informal as the situation requires but shouldn't fall into cookie cutter mode. Otherwise, any feedback you give is unlikely to make a meaningful impression.
Maximize Your Time
Smart managers realize that effective team building doesn't need a special place to succeed. Just making time throughout the work day for team-building activities can yield equally meaningful results. Meetings at the beginning of each day allow employees and managers to review company goals and discuss how to meet them.
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.