The Importance of Team Building In The Workplace

The Importance of Team Building In The Workplace

Edmund Brunetti – 5 April 2017

Team building is crucial when you want to ensure that your organization is operating smoothly. When staff members dislike each other or are in constant conflict, working together on projects can become difficult and you may find yourself with employees that aren’t very productive. Having a facilitator come in to share relevant exercises or inviting a team building speaker to address these issues can make the difference between your organization underachieving or being a success. The main thing that professionally led team building events allow you to do is open up and improve the channels for communication. In a collegial environment, your employees can openly discuss what they find to be a hindrance to their team work and many employees will also recognize that their own behavior has been an issue that can be easily improved.

Once the team issues are out in the open, respectful dialogues can be had and from there the relationship between employees as well as between management and employees will improve. With improved relationships, comes better and more productive team work, which means the quality of the work being done will improve as well. The events also help to motivate employees to become more pleasant to work with. By recognizing the assumptions and issues in their own perspective or approach, employees can target these areas and fix the way that they interact in a team. Once they start to work better with other employees, they will become more confident in their abilities and they might discover that leadership comes easier when they get along with their team. This could open many doors for them and motivate them not to back down from challenges.

Having an experienced team building speaker present will definitely make thing easier during these events. With a speaker present, there is an impartial and engaging third party that will be able to better motivate employees and give them a fresh perspective. Team building activities run by a speaker will also force your employees to think creatively, since it will be something new outside of the usual office tasks. Once your employees learn to work together under these new circumstances, they will find it much easier to be cooperative when they’re working together on work projects.

Employees will also have new skills and insights in their back pockets after listening to a team building speaker. They will learn new problem solving skills and learn to think about problems in team work in a different way, making them more valuable to your organization. Developing these skills will help them a lot in future endeavors as well as future team projects. Another good thing that comes from attending team building events is that it by opening up communication channels your employees start to trust each other more as well as their management. If you get the feeling that your employees might not feel very connected to you and that the gap between management and employee is too wide, it might be time for all of you in the office to work through a few team building exercises together.

Do You Lead Your Team By “Age”, By “Stage” Or By The Seat of Your Pants?

Do You Lead Your Team By “Age”, By “Stage” Or By The Seat of Your Pants?


By Paula Morand

How can your corporate leadership style fit everyone in your group when your employee base ranges from wired-in-20-somethings fresh out of school to seasoned professionals with decades in your industry?

No doubt your organization benefits from this range of talents, but keeping them all connected and motivated can be a monumental challenge. You can’t even generalize all that much because the range of personal communication styles and work preferences in each age group today tends to fluctuate wildly.

So how can you as a leader get across the priorities of the day to such a wide base and keep the full team moving in sync, motivated and on target? Why not try this radical approach: meet your workforce at the “stage” they’re at, not the “age” on their driver’s license?

Let’s look first at communication. Technology rules the day regardless of what you may personally prefer, so it’s time as a leader to fully embrace all the systems you have at your fingertips. The “age” of your employees is not as important as the “stage” of technology each of them have embraced. Become the kind of leader who is equally comfortable using a combination of types of messaging, but ensure that each message conveys the same order of priorities and clear expectations.

This approach might call for duplication of effort, and some rather creative crafting, but think of the benefits. Anyone who likes bite-size 140-character missives is happy to hear from you. Those who like a full email message to refer to and respond to also get what they want. Internal message blasts or succinct posts to your intranet – yes, they got it!

In other words, post where people see it, using a range of media options so everyone feels connected. Just keep it consistent, timely and responsive. Maybe this creative approach is not your thing? Then assign a communication specialist to help you with crafting, posting and tracking interaction because communication today goes both ways. Be prepared to react to feedback immediately.

So the message is out but what’s next? How about motivation? As you probably know already, what’s appealing to the 20-somethings, mid-careers, and your mature workforce can be as different as night and day. Then you find out that not every 20-something is like their peers, and mature employees aren’t all about retirement dreams and exit strategies.

When it comes to motivation, everyone seems to click to different things. So again my advice is to think less about “age” and more about “stage”. The “stage” someone is in at work reflects their state of mind and their stage tells you more than their birth date ever could.

If someone is building career skills in a specific area, they will be motivated by opportunities to grow and ways to learn more. If someone is settling down in their personal life, regardless of their age, they’ll appreciate perks that work for their new lifestyle and which allow them sufficient time with their partner and to enjoy a satisfying personal life.

For people who have committed 10 or more years to your group, regardless of their age, many of them are at the “stage” where they are looking for upward mobility and ways to gain position and prestige. If you don’t offer enough progress for them, they’ll look elsewhere, and they’ll soon be looking at you and your company through their rear-view mirror.

The solution is to develop motivational strategies to meet your valuable employee assets at the “stage” they are at. Offer incentives that are geared to motivate them at the current point they are at in their career or lifestyle, and build on what works best.

Anyone might love an á-la-carte benefits list, flexible time-off, or remote work options but they do so for very different reasons. Perhaps they’ve got their eye on a mission trip overseas before their 30th birthday. Or they need a little extra time off each month to take care of an aging parent or a spouse going through cancer. Might be that they share childcare duties with a spouse on shift-work and coming in at 9:30 a.m. improves their life drastically, keeping them very highly motivated.

In summary, today’s technology and lifestyle choices have trumped the demographic divide so it’s time to ensure your leadership style meets the stages your employees are at, and doesn’t just program to the years spent on this earth.

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Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

By Patrick Smyth

After a long flight to Tokyo Japan, the sight of two thousand people in the audience for keynote speech at the technology conference was impressive. The presentation moved along slowly as frequent pauses enabled the interpreter to convert the original English spoken and written on the slides into Japanese. After twenty minutes or so, it appeared that two thousand heads were resting on their shoulders as the entire audience had fallen asleep. The interpreter insisted they were listening and not sleeping, so please to continue. After all the effort and time to prepare and travel halfway around the world only to meet a sleeping audience, the last thirty minutes of the talk were sheer drudgery.

How you participate in meetings has a direct effect on the motivation and level of engagement by other people in the meeting. Technology has become an excuse to continue whatever you were doing outside of the meeting, while the meeting is in progress. A prospective customer does not want to stare at the back of your laptop screen and watch you type away while they are attempting to build a relationship with you. You can try to justify this laptop behavior by suggesting that you rely on the laptop to take notes during the meeting. The problem is your notes do not impress the people on the other side of the table.

Smart phones are equally offensive. Yes, you hold the phone below the table and cast your eyes downward to read it. Somehow, you believe the other people in the room don’t notice that you are busy tapping away at the small screen in front of you and not engaging in a conversation with them. All they see is someone who appears to be focusing on something other than the most important people and conversation in the room. Your behavior suggests to them that whatever is going on in front of you is far more important than they are. Clearly, that’s a serious mistake.

The first good step to active participation is assuring that you remove distractions, such as those from laptops and smart phones, from the conversation. Of course, active participation reaches far beyond simply removing distractions. Focus your attention on the other party or parties in the meeting. Ask insightful questions to demonstrate your interest in them and their business needs. Acknowledge the key points they are making to encourage them to continue sharing. Ask for clarification if they say anything that might seem slightly ambiguous or unclear. If you are delivering a presentation in a meeting, make sure the audience is following along and getting the key points you are communicating.

Avoid talking incessantly to show how much you know. All that does is confirm that you are not listening and that your focus is on yourself. Launching into an endless scripted speech without engaging the audience with questions and clarifications will certainly turn them off. Watch their body language for signs that they are reacting to what you are saying and use those as cues to expound further or ask questions. The more you demonstrate your care about their success, the more they will learn to respect and trust you. Active participation builds trust, which in turn builds solid relationships.


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Communication Matters

Communication Matters

By Judith Lindenberger |

As a human resources consultant, I have conducted many employee surveys over the years to ascertain what employees like about their workplaces and what they think needs to be changed. In many cases, one of the key recommendations from employees to make the workplace better is “provide better communication.”

What do employees want to know about? They want to know before a change occurs that it is coming. They want to know why the change is happening. And most of all, they want to know how it will affect them. If you can get ahead of your communications efforts by providing answers to these questions, your employees will be less stressed, more productive, and your change efforts will be more successful.

According to A Manager’s Guide to Communicating with Employees, “from a communications perspective, employees feel appreciated and valued when:

– they are the first to hear important news

– they are regularly consulted

– they are listened to

– their suggestions are acted upon.”

Some of the best ways I have found to communicate with employees are as follows:

  1. Send mass emails for communicating information that is timely such as an office closing due to bad weather.
  2. Conduct regular staff meetings to discuss department news, delegate work, and share information from senior management.
  3. Conduct regular Town Hall meetings, hosted by senior leaders, to provide high-level information about upcoming events or give status updates. Anticipate and welcome questions from your audience.
  4. Encourage employees to let you know what’s not working and offer their suggestions for improvement. Create a culture where open communication – the good, the bad and the ugly – is sanctioned.
  5. Provide a suggestion box and reward good ideas. Let employees know that suggestions need to be positive, respectful of others, and doable. For example, “Fire my manager” is not an appropriate use of a suggestion box.
  6. Walk around the office and be available for spontaneous conversations.
  7. Meet regularly with employees, one on one, to discuss their performance.
  8. Conduct fun teambuilding exercises and meeting ice-breakers for employees to get to know one another.

Finally, to be a good communicator, make sure that you have been heard. Ask questions to learn if your message has gotten through to your audience. As George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

I am curious… what are your best ideas for effective workplace communication?

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INSPIRE – A Power Word for Every Day

INSPIRE – A Power Word for Every Day



In 2011 this word came crashing into my life as being central to everything I am about. I had the privilege of meeting Thomas Power from the UK, in person, in Sydney. Thomas spent an hour with me taking me through a guided session that resulted in bringing everything that drives me down to two words.

Those 2 words were: Inspiring Solutions.

Thomas’ instructions to me were to treat those two words as key to everything I do and I started from that moment on to build my personal brand around ‘Inspiring Solutions’.  A few months later I set up my first LinkedIn profile and used my new ‘core words’ to create the following statement:


“Passionate, energetic and dynamic, I am all about inspiring solutions through international business development and helping others network and connect effectively.”


From 2011 and even more so today, ‘Inspiring Solutions’ is my benchmark for everything I share on-line, everything I tweet about, like, re-share, post, comment on and for offline face to face networking conversations, discussions, topics I will talk about and even people I choose to associate with. If it is aligned with inspiring solutions, I am there. If it is not then I politely choose to exit or change the subject and I like to think I honestly manage this most of the time.


The simple word ‘inspire’ and all its variations, inspiring, inspiration, inspirational, have taught be more about life, about attitudes towards business and pleasure, about people, about positive change that focus on 2 key words brings, than I ever would have thought possible.

My favourite definition of the verb to inspire is

To fill with an animating, quickening or exalting influence; to fill with enlivening or exalting emotion


I have discovered the power of choosing to become inspiring and have been on a mission for the last couple of years to inspire others to choose the same. This personal purpose statement that I created at a workshop led by Jan Haldane is a powerful reminder: ‘My purpose is to express my passion, energy and drive to inspire, connect and build engaging networks with people and businesses.


I could write all day about this amazing little word inspire but I will choose to finish off with some of a key note that I wrote and delivered as part of a Corporate Series led by Cam Calkoen in 2014:

“Inspiring people are attractive. They ooze something which the rest of us want – they feed us, challenge us, and energise us. We want to follow them, know them, and be associated with them.

In choosing to become inspiring, you will choose to become one of those people who others gravitate towards. They will share your posts, like your blogs and updates, will connect with you, follow you, meet face to face with you, attend events you are at, introduce you to others and look to build some kind of relationship with you.

So inspire those around you and find others who inspire YOU. Build your network around these 2 points and you will have loyal connections who will bring others who they think would be inspired by or resonate with you AND you will be doing the same for those connections who inspire you.

It’s all about GIVE and TAKE. Giving comes first.”


Jayne Albiston
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand