The workplace is fast paced and often impersonal which can cause employees to feel disconnected and overlooked. Wayne Turmel wrote this piece for CBS Moneywatch last year and I think it has some great team building skills for project managers.
Team Building Skills for Project Managers
Basically, a team gets put together, there’s some degree of dram and stress as people figure out their roles and the written (and unwritten) rules of working together and then they get on with it. The faster teams get through the storming stage, the more work gets done and more productive the team.
Good project managers, like the blogger Syed Rayhan, have a list of questions they like to ask and share the results with their peers. His list includes:
- What’s your role on the project? (If you’ve ever worked on a team and wonder why so-and-so was included, you know how important this is. It also allows managers to delegate tasks and answers more effectively.)
- What is your main expertise? ( “Oh, so Raj is a database expert? Maybe he can help me with this other problem I’m having”. This is a great way to get the team to work together and form bonds beyond the task level.
- What new capabilities are you learning on this project? This one is not only a chance for people to express gratitude about what they’re learning, but also a non-threatening way to let the team know this is their first time on a software project like this, so be gentle!
- What are your pet peeves in the workplace? If someone doesn’t like working in a certain way, it’s best you know that before you learn the hard way or just tick them off. Setting boundaries is an important part of working together.
- Tell us one thing about you that nobody knows? Obviously this should be amusing and non-incriminating.
- What’s your favorite hobby and why do you like it? It’s amazing how much easier it is to form a working relationship with someone that you share a passion with. A favorite sports team (or at least a favorite sport and a good-natured rivalry), a shared interest in bird photography, or almost anything else that helps you think of that teammate as something other than a nameless, faceless task machine.
Certainly every group of workers will respond differently to this kind of team building technique and some may feel it is unnecessary, but as the leader you can modify the questions to suit your needs and still include the whole team.