Team Development Activities for Training Managers

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Although team development affects different kinds of personnel from all levels and departments, their importance to managers and corporate leaders cannot be understated enough. After all, managers are, by definition, the ones who have to manage the teams. They are the ones who must oversee and supervise the people who make up the entire group. They are also the ones who must take the central role in solving all of the team’s problems whenever they arise, while making sure that all team members work efficiently with each other. This is why team development activities, with regards to managerial personnel, are more than just team building exercises. They are also activities which help improve their leadership skills. In other words, team development activities are meant to teach management trainees how to become good team leaders who not only know their role in the team, but also know how to inspire their members to work like a single organism. This is the reason why team building/development activities are so important in ensuring both personnel and managerial efficiency in the workplace.

How Do Team Development Activities Create Better Managers?

Good managers are basically good team players. They don’t overstep their responsibility and duties, nor do they let other team members do their work for them. It’s also their responsibility to prevent and manage conflict within the team, create a stable working relationship among team members and ensure increased team productivity. This is why managerial team development activities are a little different from those activities used for all types of personnel. The skills sets which are being developed in the former are more complex than what is available to the latter. In order to better appreciate the uniqueness of managerial development activities, it’s important to emphasize the following points in regards to their goals and objectives. These activities are designed to:
  • Improve the manager’s morale and leadership skills
  • Identify barriers that stand in the way of good team dynamics
  • Identify and define clear objectives for the team
  • Create effective procedures for accomplishing goals
  • Improve team productivity
  • Help the manager identify each team member’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Delegate the appropriate work loads to the right team members
Although some of these goals do overlap with general team building goals, it’s also important to remember that they are not necessary for personnel who don’t have any managerial responsibility. In this sense, managerial team building activities could be considered as special variations of general team building activities. Examples of Team Development Activities Now, that we’ve discussed how managerial team building/development activities work, and what their goals are, it’s now time to move on to specific examples. Here are several examples of important activities which help to promote a manager’s team management skills. On-The-Job Counseling and Coaching  This type of activity focuses on expanding the management trainee’s ability to answer the questions of his or her team members. It also involves reviewing their work, discussing important concerns and solving hypothetical problems with their team. In this activity, the trainee functions as a counselor and as a coach. He or she will also be expected to provide insight and problem solving strategies that will benefit that entire team. Acting As A Conference Leader In this type of activity, the trainee is asked to take the role of a conference chairperson. The conference can involve any hypothetical topic that’s relevant to the company, and it is the trainee’s job to coordinate his or her team into creating a professional presentation on their subject matter. The value behind this activity is that it broaden the person’s worldview and, at the same time, helps trainees to manage major meetings Formal Presentations This activity helps trainees to develop their skills at speaking before a crowd, and in this case, the crowd consists of their fellow team members. Making a presentation also helps trainees to develop their team planning and organization skills and, at the same time, helps them cope with the critique and feedback of their audience. Understudy Training  In this activity, the trainee is given the responsibility of a supervisor. This may be implemented either in a real work environment or in a hypothetical scenario, but either way, the trainee will have to contend with the day to day responsibilities which go along with the supervisor’s job. This activity teaches the trainee how to supervise his or her team mates as well as comply with certain office routines. Lateral Transfer  In this activity, the trainee is assigned to a different department and is required to work with people that they’re not familiar with. This sort of activity is done to broaden interrelationships between different departments within a particular organization. However, it’s also an effective team building experience, in the sense that the trainees and potential leaders are forced to adapt to sudden changes in their work routine. Special Projects  In this activity, the trainee is assigned a hypothetical task that will require a healthy blend of analytical ability, sound judgement and decision making skills. A good example would be to head the investigation of a major accident within the company. In this scenario, the in depth study will have to be conducted by the team, and it is the trainee’s job to make sure that the results of the study will be accomplished on time. Conclusion There are all kinds of team building/development activities in the corporate world. Those activities which are designed specifically for leaders and managers tend to focus on a different set of goals than what is available in conventional team building exercises. Management team building exercises focus not only on the team, but also on the individual, thus creating two sets of goals for management trainees to accomplish. On the one hand, these activities are designed to turn management personnel into good team players, but on the other hand, they are also trained to become good leaders who appreciate the unique responsibilities that comes with their roles. Managerial team building activities are designed to teach potential leaders and managers this dual role, and this is the reason why team development plays such an important role in the training of new managers and corporate leaders. Related management information is available on Knowledge management tools page, which is very recommend to read.  
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog