Team and organisational development: Team exercise to put a stick on the floor together with the fingers - netzwerk managementberatung coaching
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Team development according to Corona

Back to the office: focus on team development

From Sabine Walter, Head of network management consulting | coaching

The need for structured team development is growing. Especially at the current time, when many months of home office have caused communication, cohesion and cooperation to dwindle in some teams, the return to the corporate office requires a fresh start to a certain extent. We recommend taking time for this outside of the office routine and outline in this article how a "new beginning" can succeed.

Good teams are good teams - regardless of the form of work

We are currently assisting various teams in finding their way back to the office after many months of home office or "shift presence". One thing becomes clear very quickly: Teams that trust each other and live by clear rules for productive cooperation have come through this period better. than teams where cooperation was already on shaky ground beforehand. These teams have felt increased conflict, a loss of productivity, reduced commitment to solving common problems or poorer communication over the last few months.

This makes it clear that in most cases the change in the form of work is not the cause of poorer teamwork, but rather the trigger everywhere. A change in the form of work - be it more home office or more office presence - merely makes transparent which strengths and weaknesses already exist in the team. Our analyses have shown that the most common causes of conflict that have had an inhibiting effect on trusting teamwork are:

  • Unclear or unmotivating goals
  • Work is not much fun
  • Lack of clarity with regard to roles, responsibilities and decision-making competences
  • No or little space for formal and informal exchange in the team
  • low trust in each other

Team analysis: status quo and lessons learned

Overall view of the team

In order for teams to become aware of their strengths and areas for development, it is worthwhile to look at the team as a whole. We have summarised 18 criteria in a team wheel that give a very good overview of how trustworthy the team works and which elements need to be further developed. Mostly it is about clarity of purpose, structure, sincere communication and valuing the individual.

A team analysis via the team wheel, you can conduct it with us and receive a presentation of the results within 2 weeks, including team strengths, areas for development and concrete recommendations for action.

Lessons learned from the past months

Furthermore, we recommend taking stock of the past months:

  • What went well, also or especially during the time in the home office?
  • What do we want to preserve / expand?
  • What has hindered our productivity?
  • How did we deal with such imponderables?
  • What can we change in order to no longer have these disabilities in the future, or not to this extent?
  • What have we learned to appreciate through distance work (each to himself / in togetherness)?

Good team leadership: What else is important?

Expectation management and clarity

Managing needs and expectations

Corona has changed us and everyone has dealt with the situation differently and also looks at the continuing risks of infection with a different eye. It is important that the needs and expectations that each team member has of the "new togetherness" in the office can be expressed in order to find a solution together.that takes into account as many needs as possible.

Questions that help to identify needs include:

  • What moves you as you return to the office?
  • What do you need to get back into the office?
  • How much do you still want to work from home? On which days?
  • Which activities would you like to do in the office? Why?
  • How much closeness, how much distance do you need to feel comfortable?

It is important that this process also looks at how the team deals with violated needs. How are these articulated? How are solutions developed and decisions made?

Develop a target image with which everyone can identify

For some companies, the originally defined goals have also changed in the course of Corona. Regardless of this we recommend expanding the team goals and also to define what the team as such would like to stand for.

  • What makes us a team?
  • What drives us?
  • What is worth getting up for every morning?

A target image with which everyone identifies is, besides trust, the "glue" of a team

Clearly define roles and responsibilities

The greatest friction losses and potential for conflict arise from unclear roles and responsibilities. Therefore, it is a central task of the team to define these clearly. Ideally, they are aligned with the strengths of the respective team member. 

  • Who takes care of what and with what result?
  • Who gets to decide what?
  • What does the decision-making process look like? Who is heard? Who is actively involved? Who is informed about the decision taken?
  • In what form are work results handed over?
  • How are ambiguities and irritations dealt with?

Team values - yes, but please operationalise them

We experience time and again that teams have defined common values that should form the basis of their cooperation. However, it is often forgotten to operationalise these values, i.e. to make them applicable to everyday life. As a result, the values are written but not lived.

The key operationalisation questions are:

  • How do we perceive that we are living these values?
  • How do we deal with violations of values? How do we address this?

Conclusion for Teambuilding to Corona

Trusting cooperation - a prerequisite for productive work

When you start to bring your employees back into the office, you should schedule team time to enable a successful "restart". Successful team development pays off on several factorswhich culminate in two elementary things: Trust and productivity. A stable basis of trust is always the prerequisite for productive work.

Only when this trusting cooperation, after many months of distance and home office, is actively given room to grow again, will the cooperation on the substantive issues and questions function constructively and productively.

Depending on where you and your team stand, it may also be enough to recall the small things of daily togetherness:

  • respectful interaction, which also manifests itself in the morning greeting, a "please" and "thank you
  • a morning coffee together
  • Appreciation for the other team members
  • Benevolent attitude, i.e. the basic assumption that the colleague means you no harm
  • an active enquiry "How have you been in the last few months?" and "What do you need to get well here in the office again?"
  • Empathic listening and joint solutions that take these wishes into account

There will be no silent "back to normal", the cuts of the last few months were too big for that. That's why our recommendation is to focus on the following when returning to the office. team development. We wish you every success.

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We send out our newsletter about once a month, providing tips and information on the topics of leadership and organisational development. You can cancel the subscription and unsubscribe at any time. We use the E-Mail address you provide here exclusively for sending the newsletter and do not pass it on to third parties.

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