ABC’s of Team Building – B is for Bonding

Creating bonds with another person can be very special but it can take work, patience, and empathy.  In a work setting, it is required that team members work together but many do not take the time to really understand all the intricacies of other people.  We are all complex human beings and with that there are times when our actions and those of others don’t make sense or are counter to our beliefs, etc.

There are several key areas that each team member needs to understand in order to build bonds.  Communication is the most important, however, this seems to be the one that is most complicated.  It is not only the words one uses but also body language, inflection, tone, etc. that we have to take into consideration.  The manner in which one communicates can also be an issue.  As an example, I refer to texting as “sanitary communications” because when a person texts, the recipient may not be aware of the emotion behind the message.  One could text “I hate you” but they could be joking around versus being serious.  A good communications strategy to follow is to make a phone call or schedule a face to face meeting if the issue is sensitive.  If the message has complex language, directions, etc., an email with an attachment is acceptable but a follow-up dialogue should be expected afterwards.

In a meeting, various ice-breaker activities could be utilized but the leader or meeting coordinator must be careful not to step on another person’s toes.  Some team members may not be willing to share personal information which may include what they did on the weekend.  Keeping with safe topics like food preferences, TV shows or movies, super hero characters, etc. does get team members to reveal more about themselves in a non-threatening manner.  If the group is pretty cohesive, Two Truths and a Lie or describing an Aha! Moment in their lives work well.

The team needs to make a pact that they will try to put aside their differences and work in a more constructive and effective way.  There may be some who are stubborn and feel that “this worked fine all these years, why change it?” but they may not be aware of the larger strategic objectives of the organization overall.  They may also resent what they see as preferential treatment of some team members over others as well.  As a leader, trying to get others to build bonds is a challenge but can also be rewarding when others finally recognize the value of collaboration, communication, and trust.