One of the many aspirations of every manager is to have his or her subordinates working as a team.
Building a great synergy to help the whole team achieve common goals seems to be one of the most challenging tasks managers encounter in their day to day management of personnel.
With the 2014 Mundial in Brazil ended, I would want to expose some team building elements that worked for or against some teams’ campaigns of annexing the prestigious trophy.
Improving communication between team members, if not the most important, should be one of the main priorities of managers when planning team building exercises. Poor communication amongst team members may affect the achievement of group goals extensively. Taking Group A’s Cameroon as an example, a breach in communication may be cited as one of the many reasons that saw the team bowing out of the competition after the group stage of matches. Their deficiency was so glaring that team mates were involved in some scuffle in their second group game against Croatia. Managers do not have the luxury to overlook the need to build good and healthy communication amongst team members if they envisage leading a winning team.
Labelling and stereotyping is another area in team building that managers must pay close attention to. Whilst naming an individual as the talisman of the group and overly paying attention to him may be a blessing, it may however turn out to be a destructive force in the absence of that individual. Brazil had a good taste of defeat against Germany in their semi-final game. The absence of the team’s golden boy, Neymar, due to injury has been cited as a main cause for their failure. Every member of the team should be a potential most valuable player and managers have the responsibility to grow these qualities. The absence of a member of the team should not mean doom for the team.
A formidable team is built on trust and interdependence. Single effort may be cherished but the focus should be on group effort. Managers should not lose sight of building a spirit of interdependence and trust amongst teammates. Germany, the 2014 World Cup Champions, for me, are a perfect example of interdependence and trust. All members of the team, including the technical team, exhibited trust and interdependence on each other. While the coach was in constant communication with his assistants and team, players on the field placed confidence in each other to be able to attain expected results. Players would selfishly pass the ball around until it landed at the feet of the best man to take a strike at goal. Team Manager Joachim Loew, trusted his substitutes to produce results when he sent them onto the pitch. These qualities of the team saw as many as seven members of the team register their names on the score sheet.
I cannot close my chapter on team building without naming the Black Stars of Ghana. For a moment, I thought the team had just found its rhythm to bounce back for glory with the spectacular performance it put up against Germany, but it was just the beginning of the show of individualism and selfishness. The group which some pundits described as lacking discipline and patriotism lost focus of the team and nation’s goal while focusing more on their personal gains. Not to suggest it is wrong to demand benefits you are entitled to, team members should have love for the goal and put away personal interests which may be a catalyst for destruction. While the team prepares for AFCON, team building exercises should be considered as one of the routines the team should be engaged in.
While you plan your outings and other team building exercises, managers should cautiously list a number of things they hope to achieve at the end of every session. Building a good and excellent team, though challenging, is not too far out of reach.