Team Building Strategies: Setting Expectations For Your Team

This section Team Building Strategies: Setting Expectations for your Team is about the crucial part of team building, which is setting the stage right. This concerns setting the right expectations and making sure that everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities from the outset.

The first thing you should do before getting to work in a team is to set expectations right with everyone. While in a work group, the leader can dictate and decide roles and responsibilities as things are happening, it will not work as well in a team setting.

Often, we see misunderstandings, conflicts and disagreements within a team simply because they forgot to do one thing before they started off together: they forget to set expectations right.

Some common expectation disconnects are: not being clear about roles and responsibilities, not clarifying ground rules for the group, not setting clear, specific and objective goals to meet.

With these not put on the table, there will be a lot of disagreements and conflicts because each person has inherently their own hidden expectations they have placed on the group.

A task-oriented person might come to a team meeting expecting the agendas to be run through quickly with focus. But the team meeting ending up with unclear agendas and side chats will frustrated this team member.

A detailed team member might come to the meeting with the expectation of work being distributed clearly and equitably, but may be disappointed to see that everyone else communicates in a big picture without breaking any specific tasks down for anyone.

Each individual in a team is different and you have to see that while you have a preferred mode of running a meeting, others have their own ideas as well. That’s why it’s important to set the stage for teamwork.

Here are four things you have to decide before you start working with the team:

Four Expectations to Set

Team Building Strategies #1: Goal Setting
You need to be clear about what goal you want to achieve in your coming together as a team. Whether it is to help a company transit, or consult a major client, setting the goal from the start will help clarify the purpose of the team.

You can use the Goal Setting Exercise from my website to do this.

Once you’ve done the goal setting, it’s important not to keep the paper! Instead put it at a common meeting room or at a visible place so that it will help the team stay focused on their goals.

Team Building Strategies #2: Decision Making
How should contentious decisions be made? No doubt, with everyone working hard for the goals, there are bound to be disagreements of perspective and approach to problems.

When things cannot be concluded, is there are pre-agreed method to settle the issue? Is it by majority vote, or is it by a key leader or manager within the work team?

Whatever is chosen, remember it has to be settled from the outset before any disagreements arise.

Team Building Strategies #3: Work Division
Divide the work clearly. Who is in charge of what segment of the project? Who is responsible for the results of particular components. Who is accountable for which tasks? When it is unclear, who should step up?

If possible, break it down into clear, specific tasks that each individual needs to complete, keeping things as unambiguous as possible. It may be a little tedious from the start, but it is well worth the time to do it.

Team Building Strategies #4: Conflict Resolution
Despite your best efforts, conflicts are bound to happen. It is human nature.

The question is: when there is a disagreement, what is the process to resolve the conflict? Does a mediator bring the two parties together to talk it through? How about using an ‘Indian talking stick’, where only one person holding onto a stick may speak?

All these tasks may seem cumbersome and time-consuming from the start, but in the long run it saves a lot of unnecessary disagreements and conflicts. Personal feelings are less likely to be hurt, and less frustration due to unspoken expectations are likely to happen.

So take the first one to two meetings to settle this, and you can move on confidently with your team to achieve the corporate objectives of the team!

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