Don’t use team building to solve individual problems

I was talking to a client yesterday who wanted team building for a “broken” team. It is something we have done from time to time and it reminded me of one of the most frustrating, expensive and unnecessary problems in this area – using a collective team building event to address a problem with one or two individuals.

It is very common when we are asked to run a team building event for teams with problems that, when we investigate, we find that 80% of team members don’t have a problem but there are serious relationship issues with one individual or between a couple of people on the team. Usually this is compounded by a manager unwilling to confront the issue or who believes that teamwork is the answer to every problem.

I worked with a team from major multinational some years ago who were on their fourth “team building event” to try to solve a problem between the marketing and R&D heads (always a challenging relationship). The people not involved in the problem were deeply frustrated and knew there was nothing they could do to solve the problem.

In the end we created two “teams” – team A who did not have a problem and could go to the bar and “team B” who were the two individuals with the problem plus the manager who we sent to a room and kept working with¬† till the problem was solved.

If you have a team with problems, only use collective team events to focus on issues that everyone shares. If it is a problem with individuals, confront them with it directly. It is the manager’s job to solve this with the individuals concerned.

Have you experienced this in teams you have worked with?

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

30 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients

We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world.  Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.

View more of our clients
Two woman talking with a cup of coffee

Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs

We are deep content experts in remote, virtual and hybrid working, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 30 years of training experience.

For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.

Discover our training solutions