Welcome back to Team Building Tuesday, young master!  Last week you learned some of what it takes to become a team building Jedi master.  We will continue your training today – are you ready?  You must not lose focus.  You must continue to press on and complete your training.  Don’t turn back now!  Let’s begin.

4.  Finding your courage in group engagement

One of the hardest things you will face when working with groups is to get everyone involved in each activity. You will be working with many different personalities and must be comfortable working with all kinds.

How do you handle the person who is too shy to participate?

What do you do when there is a major conflict during one of the exercises?

How do you handle someone who dominates the activity and the debrief time?

These are just a few of the concerns you must handle when you deal with groups, young Jedi.  Are you up for the challenge?

In order to become a team building Jedi master, you must first master your own fear of leading.  You must overcome the fear of the unknown and the challenges you face each time you lead a team through these activities.

You must learn to use “handicaps” to give everyone the opportunity to have a voice and the opportunity to lead and be heard.  You must know when and how to use these limitations so that the group can achieve more than they thought possible.

Types of handicaps you give include:

– Limiting the use of an arm or leg

– Not being able to speak during the activity

– Not being able to move at all (others must help them through the activity)

Your goal, young Jedi, is to involve everyone in every activity.

– The person who has a bad attitude and doesn’t want to be there

– The individual who is so shy that they can barely speak

– The team member who is angry at their boss for making them participate

How do you not only engage them, but make it so that they, too, have the opportunity to succeed and excel with their team?

Engage them where they are

– Acknowledge how they feel

– Challenge them to push beyond their current attitude and push farther for their team.

5. The Jedi way of debriefing

The Jedi way of debriefing is to ask powerful questions.  Asking powerful questions can lead team members to a-ha moments.

When facilitating activities, you don’t want to just give the answer to the group.  It can be frustrating seeing a group struggle and fail over and over again. It’s tempting to just blurt out the answer! However, teams grow as they struggle to find the answer. The Jedi way is to ask a question that might lead them to the solution.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that although you’ve done these exercises a hundred or a thousand times and the answer seems obvious, much of the team’s growth will not be in discovering the answer, but in the struggle to discover the answer. Why? Because that’s where the problems arise, and where the team discovers those issues that need to be worked out.

– The lack of communication.

– The leader who won’t listen to other’s ideas.

– The introvert who is too shy to say anything but knows how to get to the solution.

Giving the answer short circuits the process, and it is in the process that the team not only learns the issue, but also learns how to overcome it.

What kinds of questions are powerful? A wise question, young one!  Your training is almost complete.

Use open-ended questions vs. closed-ended questions.

Open-ended questions are those that require more than a one- or two-word response. Questions such as,
“What is your team doing that is working right now?”
“What decisions led you to this point in the activity?”
“What is something that you could change to improve your outcome?”

All of these require thought and processing of the situation and the decisions that led the team to that point.

Closed-ended questions are those that typically require a “yes” or “no” answer or a very brief response.

“Has your team finished?”
“Were you successful?”

Questions like that can be appropriate but on a very limited scale. You want to ask more open-ended questions than close-ended questions for all the reasons above and more.

Use a variety of debriefing techniques

Asking questions is but one way to debrief.   There are numerous ways to debrief activities.  You can also use these creative ways to debrief a team:

  1.  Have them journal about their experience and come together and share what they wrote
  2. Let each person pick a partner to debrief with
  3. Dismiss the group for a time of personal reflection and then come back and share what they discovered during this quiet time of processing

As you work with teams and groups in these activities, you’ll find your own rhythm for asking these kinds of questions.

You’ll learn when to ask questions and when to let the group struggle.

You will learn how to set up activities for maximum benefit and lead through them with purpose and skillfulness.

You will learn the language of teams, team building, and group dynamics.

You will be skilled in all areas of trust, communication, problem-solving leadership games, and team challenges.

You will become the team building Jedi master!  And then it will be up to you to train others.

Did you skip the first part of your training?  If so, please click here.

Do you feel complete in your training?  If not, what else would you include, young Jedi?  Let me know in the comments below.