TIPS FOR TEAM TRAINING
- Foster good feelings among personnel. Don’t confuse team development with teamwork. The former is a series of ongoing exercises that prepare members to work as a team; the latter is the by-product of team development. Team training primarily is viewed as an effort to have department members feel good about each other and build relationships.
- View teams as “open ” systems. Teams must look beyond their own internal dynamics. Encourage team members to relate to each other positively, and help members understand their roles, the relationships between the roles, and the procedures that w ill make their work successful.
- Use a systematic model to plan team development. Design and conduct training sessions that provide a structure for systematically putting together a team game plan. Models should encompass a broad range of areas in which teams excel.
- Assess team needs. Evaluate the team’s level of functioning: What is it doing well? What areas need improvement? Create approaches that fit the team’s needs; resist the temptation to apply “canned” approaches.
- Train members as teams. Many organizations believe that operations could not continue if an entire unit were to take time “oft ” together for training. The assumption is that personnel need only a knowledge of team dynamics and the skills to use that knowledge to work together effectively. While that sometimes works, team development involves the interplay among members as they work through concepts together. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts; team members need time to examine the “fits between the parts.”
- Consider each team unique. Just as teams playing the same “sport” are coached and developed in various ways, so should work teams.
- Stress application. Officers must emphasize to work teams that what they learn in training must be applied in the workplace.
- Team building is an ongoing process. Personnel sent to a two-, three-, or five-day seminar should not be expected to come out of the training as teams that will operate effectively for 10 or 20 years. That approach to training misses the point: Distributed practice, rather than mass practice, is the key to longterm retention of information.
- Hold teams accountable for using uhat the}’ learn in team training. Assign the responsibility for monitoring the implementation of team-development plans and decisions. Teams should establish policies that encourage and acknowledge the use of newly acquired information and skills. Build allies within the organization who will help ensure that team training is an ongoing process and not a one-shot phenomenon