What is Team Building?

What is team building?

No man is an island. In fact, working well in a team is a fundamental skill that is important for all aspects of life. Look back to the dawn of time and you will see that humans have always worked together towards a common goal. It is what has made us so successful, and something that we continue to do today both at work and in our day-to-day lives.

For that reason, team building activities are an important way of bringing together groups of people who are required to work in collaboration to achieve something. This can be applied in schools, sports teams, within the workplace, and beyond.

Team building Explained

Team building is a broad term for any sort of activity or exercise that is undertaken with the aim of building trust, developing key skills and defining roles within a group of people.

In the workplace, team building usually takes the form of structured activities, where teams are given a task to complete or a goal to work towards. Within this, teams are required to assign and clarify roles and devise an approach that utilises communication, trust and problem solving in order to be successful.
In many cases, team building can be used to shine a light on how well a team works together and highlight areas for change. Not all teams naturally gel and work collaboratively, and team building presents an opportunity to identify this and work towards change.

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Team building became more popular following a series of academic studies on teamwork. The first of these was by American Psychological Researcher, Bruce Tuckman. In 1965, he published his theory called ‘Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development’, which explored the stages a group moves through as they develop. These are known as:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

This theory of group development aims to understand how teams grow and work together. Of course, at the beginning most teams are essentially a group of strangers who have been put together for one reason or another. But what we hope to achieve is a united group working towards (and achieving) common goals.

The four stages (which would eventually become five in 1977 with the addition of ‘adjourning’), track a team as they move towards ‘success.’ From the forming stage, where roles and responsibilities aren’t clear and the team aren’t familiar with one another to performing, where clearly defined roles, effective communication, synergy, trust and mutual understanding result in achievement.

This is, of course, a whistle stops tour of Tuckman’s theory, but even at a glance we can see where team building slots into this theory and how it can lead to higher performance and achievement of goals.

From Tuckman’s theory, many more have arisen, and many different factors hold sway over the outcome. But the core idea of group development is still used today in understanding how teams grow, work together effectively, and how we can help the process along.

Develop Your Team With KDM

As the UK’s leading event specialists with over 30 years’ experience, we’ve built up a fantastic portfolio of team building activities. From light-hearted fun to focused team and personal development, we have a range of activities and events to meet every need! If you would like to find out more or need support in organising your very own team building day, give us a call today!


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