Teambuilding: Top Picks

The rarity of passion-driven teams

Dan Bobinski

Most teams in the workplace are nowhere near as effective as they could be. The reasons are many. But one reason overrides all the rest - a lack of passion.

Five simple keys to building solid teams

Dan Bobinski

When I ask teams what they would like from their supervisors, the same simple things keep coming up. You might think they're obvious - but if they are, teams wouldn't continually be mentioning them!

Putting the "we" into your team

Wayne Turmel

One of the hardest things about pulling a team together is getting the disparate pieces to think of themselves as a whole - to think of all of you as "we". This is more than soft and mushy sentiment, however - there's real science involved.

Is communication the problem, or teamwork?

James M. Kerr

Sometimes we can get fooled into thinking that poor communication is a problem when it’s really a symptom of something much more profound: poor organizational design that undermines the ability of people to work in teams.

More on Teambuilding

Are you managing your boss?

Myra White

Your relationship with your boss is mutually dependent and requires careful management. That means you need to building a cooperative working relationship and understand your boss's needs and working style if you're going to make it work.

Reducing tensions in partly-virtual teams

Wayne Turmel

Hybrid teams - some people working in the office, some at home or elsewhere - are increasingly common. But they pose unique challenges, so a wise leader needs to be aware of the dynamics that can make them work.

A field guide to underappreciated workplace geniuses

Wayne Turmel

There are some employees out there who are downright geniuses in a strange kind of way - and whose extraordinary abilities are mirrored only by complete inability to work and play with others. Here's a quick field study of some of these types.

Examining your assumptions

Wayne Turmel

Assumptions aren’t bad things. They are the model under which we do our work, particularly in remote teams. But assumptions need testing now and again, because without some kind of feedback along the way, things can go can go very wrong.

Zen and the art of remote teams

Wayne Turmel

Without visual cues and context, it’s all too easy to make assumptions about your team's effectiveness. But being mindful of your behavior and communication style can yield both short- and long-term dividends and help you to see what’s really going on.

Great advice from a sketchy source

Wayne Turmel

Ian Fleming’s James Bond books don’t normally spring to mind as sources of useful management advice. But there’s a one-liner in ‘Goldfinger’ that is actually quite brilliant, particularly if you run a remote team.

Opening the Johari Window

James M. Kerr

Devised in the 1950s, the Johari Window is a technique that can be used to expose an individual’s blind spots and increase their self-discovery. As a management tool, it’s a useful way to improve team performance and enhance breakthrough thinking.

Five ways you're hurting your remote working relationships

Wayne Turmel

Very few people intentionally try to undermine their working relationships with other team members. But most of us manage to do things inadvertently that can have a disproportionately negative impact on teamwork and productivity.

Focusing despite technology

Wayne Turmel

In a remote team, technology is the way you communicate. So it should be a conduit to better information flow, not a bottleneck that constricts it. And that means limiting the distractions technology can create.

Mapping the power in your organization

Wayne Turmel

Do you know who has the real power in your organization? Forget job titles, that means knowing whose support you need when it comes to getting things done, approved, funded and supported and who has real influence where it matters most.

The power of constructive disagreement

Tim Lambert

Disagreement and challenge are healthy activities. But we have become so used to adversarial conversations through our political and legal systems that we have forgotten how to have real dialogue. What we need is a better way to disagree.

Do you know what's in your technology toolkit?

Wayne Turmel

Does your team have the collaboration technology it needs to communicate effectively? If your answer is "no", you might want to take a step back and reconsider. The chances are that you actually have everything you need at your disposal, but don't even know it.

Fixing the boat in the water

Wayne Turmel

There’s no shortage of advice out there on how to put together an effective remote team. But what about fixing one that has gone off the rails? How do you improve the performance or relationships on an existing team that’s already in trouble?

Avoiding the back-to-work blues

Wayne Turmel

For most of us, the first Monday in January after New Year’s Day is the first “real” day back at work. So it’s worth taking a moment to consider what to say to your team as you all re-enter the ‘workosphere’ and to take stock of the dynamics you’ll encounter this week.

Five end-of-year questions for remote managers

Wayne Turmel

At some point in the year we all need to stop, reflect on what’s happened and what looms ahead. And given that another year is looming, in that spirit of reflection, here are five questions all team leaders should ask themselves

Building social capital in remote teams

Wayne Turmel

Social capital is vital to every team. But in remote teams, the incidental and tacit communication that helps form social bonds just isn’t there. So you have to go about building it on purpose rather than expecting it to grow organically.

Trust, risk and remote teams

Wayne Turmel

Working in remote teams isn’t intrinsically more difficult than working together, but it is different. And one of those differences is the role risk plays in building or damaging team trust when working in isolation from others.

Your team members aren’t pawns in a chess game

Wayne Turmel

Project management and team leadership are often viewed as chess games. But there’s one important difference. Those pieces on the chess board aren’t human. Your team members are - and they need to be treated accordingly.

Real rules need to be explicit

Wayne Turmel

Like baseball, every workplace has “unwritten rules” about how things work. That’s great, until something goes wrong. Since teamwork is a fragile dynamic at the best of times, it’s a good idea to determine the behaviors you expect from each other and make them explicit.

The prisoner's dilemma

James M. Kerr

Why do people working within the same organization - even the same unit - often seem to be operating in conflict with one another? Understanding the prisoner's dilemma can give us some clues.

Nobody's paying attention: don't panic

Wayne Turmel

If you feel that no one is paying attention on your conference calls, don’t worry about it. You’re not alone. Calls need to be managed to maintain focus and involvement. So plan them , don’t expect them to just magically happen.

Get ready for the unexpected

Graham Scrivener

Change, especially when it is unexpected, commonly triggers anxiety, distraction and loss of motivation. But rather than simply ignoring the negative effects of change, surely it makes sense to help individuals to deal better with the uncomfortable and unpredictable.

Reviewing remote managers

Wayne Turmel

With performance review season looming, how should remote team leaders be evaluated? While the differences between managing remotely and co-locating are few, they are significant, and your terms of reference need to reflect that reality.

Every team needs communication rules

Wayne Turmel

It doesn't matter what you call it, the fact is that every team needs is a set of communication guidelines to help them work together more effectively. So what does one of these communication agreements look like - and how do you go about creating one?

More Good Stuff

Every team needs communication rules

Wayne Turmel

It doesn't matter what you call it, the fact is that every team needs is a set of communication guidelines to help them work together more effectively. So what does one of these communication agreements look like - and how do you go about creating one?

Cultural misunderstandings and the elephant in the room

David Livermore

One of the biggest causes of misunderstandings and conflict in multicultural teams is the difference between direct and indirect communication styles. So how can those who like to get straight to the point work harmoniously with others who expect issues to be addressed more subtly?

Improving your remote coaching sessions

Wayne Turmel

We all know how important it is for managers to coach team members. But with remote teams, coaching conversations can be particularly tough to get right. Here’s how to get round the lack of non-verbal cues to make your remote coaching sessions more effective.

Too much one-on-one can damage team dynamics

Wayne Turmel

Good managers understand the importance of “one-on-ones”. But what if we are spending so much time on individual communication that we inadvertently create a problem for the team as a whole?

Cultivating social capital

Suzanne Edinger

Social capital is the currency of teamwork, lubricating the flow of knowledge around organizations. As people work together over time, you might assume this is something that develops naturally, but that’s not always true. So social capital needs to be nurtured if it is to grow.

Leading remotely is still leading

Wayne Turmel

Virtual teams may be shaking up organizational dynamics, but the fundamentals of how to lead a team are the same whether its members are all based in the same building as you or scattered across four continents.

The dream team of the future

Karsten Jonsen

Organizations are wedded to teamwork. It is just the way things are done. So managers rarely stop and question whether the way that teams operate is as effective as it might be. But are our conventional ideas about teamwork all a bit 'last century'?

Do you love your team?

Wayne Turmel

Don't take this the wrong way, but how do you feel about the members of your team? Do you like them? All of them? Now, let's take it further. Do you love them?

How different is leading remotely?

Wayne Turmel

There's no doubt that leading a remote team is different to working with people in the same office. But for a competent team leader, the differences aren't as great as you might think.

Are you playing 'Game of Cubicles'?

Wayne Turmel

Maybe I'm getting a little obsessed, but I can't help noticing the similarities between corporate politics and "Game of Thrones ". I even came up with a name for it. So how well do you play the "Game of Cubicles"?

Is team technology a barrier or an excuse?

Wayne Turmel

Technology is often used as an excuse for the poor management of remote teams. While it can certainly be a barrier, understanding team dynamics and offering training and resources can eliminate most of these. That just leaves the excuses.

Open questions, open communication

Wayne Turmel

Working remotely, we just don't get any of those tell-tale non-verbal signals we see in a meeting room - the furtive looks, the eye contact or the nodding heads. That's why asking open questions is one of the most critical skills a manager of a remote team can possess.