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Team Development -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
How and when should I recognize the volunteers in our organization for their contributions?

Answer:
Most volunteers just want to be treated with respect and given the resources needed to do their job. However, show appreciation to them simply by thanking them periodically or acknowledging a job well done. Recognize them publicly at meetings, highlighting them in your organization’s newsletter, or during an annual Volunteer Appreciation function. Select individuals for special recognition, such as nominating them for “Volunteer of the Month or “Volunteer of the Quarter,” etc. Although most volunteers do not give of their time for awards or expect public recognition, everyone likes to know their efforts are appreciated. The Army designated April as “Volunteer Appreciation” month. During this time, military communities all over the world hold volunteer appreciation ceremonies to recognize the generous efforts of the volunteers in their community. Check with your military volunteer coordinator for more information recognizing your volunteers and about official volunteer awards that are available. The references listed here provide additional information on volunteer management and recognition.

Question:
How can a leader encourage group members to contribute their opinions, ideas, etc. when soliciting group input?

Answer:
A comfortable workplace climate or atmosphere where individuals feel welcomed, valued, and respected is key to getting individuals to participate. There are several ways to achieve this. For example, leaders who acknowledge their subordinates; recognize their efforts and sincerely care about their well-being shows they have value in and to the organization. It is just as important for the leader to foster this type of acceptance and respect among group members themselves.

Question:
How can a leader get his/her team to put organizational goals above personal needs?

Answer:
Getting group members to put organizational goals above personal needs depends on how cohesive the team is, how competent the team is, and on how essential team members see their efforts are in meeting organizational goals. Build a rapport with group members, implement procedures that will develop them as a cohesive team, and train them to a level of competence that together instills a strong sense of commitment to the organization and its leaders.

Question:
How can creative thinking techniques help my organization?

Answer:
Creative thinking techniques such as brain storming, mind-mapping, and affinity diagrams are often used by groups in organizations to stimulate new ideas. Allowing individuals to think freely about solutions to a problem, or ideas for a new marketing campaign, or themes for a fund-raising event (without regard to the resources needed or any other restrictions - or repercussions) often result in solutions or good ideas that might not have been discovered otherwise. These type of creative thinking techniques can be time-consuming, but they can be very useful tools.

Question:
How do build rapport within a group or organization?

Answer:
As a leader, it’s important to build a rapport with others in your organization in order for you to earn their respect and support. It’s also important for a group’s members to build a rapport with one other. This is often referred to as “team building.” There are a number of different team building exercises you can do to help group members get to know each other, and develop mutual trust and understanding. Team building exercises or icebreakers are games that allow for group interaction where the focus is on something fun and usually unrelated to the group’s purpose. One example of this kind of activity is one in which members are divided into several groups and each group is given a particular problem to solve. This might be a written story listing a number of different items that the group is supposed to pretend they are left with on a desert island. They are tasked to work together to develop a plan on how they would use these items to get back to the mainland. Another activity might include giving each group a certain number of materials and asked to work together to create something specific like a new design for an automobile. Many businesses hold annual picnics or have interoffice athletic games. These activities also allow employees to build a rapport with one another because it allows them to put their work aside and get to know each other better on a personal level. These kinds of activities forces group interaction and help group members form a relationship. Check with some of the references provided for more information.

Question:
How do individuals' needs impact group development?

Answer:
A group consists of a number of unique individuals - all of whom bring with them unique talents, personalities, and individual needs. Some individuals may choose to be part of a group to satisfy a need for socialization. They just want a sense of belonging and are likely to be the members who seek group cohesion in order to fulfill their need for friendship and affiliation. Other members may seek membership in a group to gain a stronger sense of self-worth. They may be motivated to take on tasks in order to gain a sense of accomplishment and respect from others. These individuals often take on leadership roles in the group or are responsible for motivating other group members to succeed with completing their tasks. Some people may join a group because of a need for attention and can often disrupt the group's development. Individuals unique needs can have both positive and negative impact (disruptive) on group development. Check with the references listed for more information on group dynamics.

Question:
How do you build team confidence and competency in a group?

Answer:
Leaders use many techniques to build team confidence and competency in a group to include team-building exercises and group problem solving. A leader’s respect and interpersonal skills also affect the group’s confidence level. It is important to empower group members, demonstrate trust in their judgment, and acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of your team. Learn more ways to build team confidence and competency through the resources listed.

Question:
How is an individual's leadership style impacted by group dynamics?

Answer:
There are many ways that an individual’s leadership style is impacted by group dynamics. For example, the leader of a newly formed group, or one that is in the midst of learning a new activity (e.g., operating new equipment) may need to use a more directive style of leadership as described in the Situational Leadership model, created by leading management experts Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. In this situation, the leader would act as an instructor with close supervision, and communication would generally be one-way. If the group is highly motivated and highly skilled, the leader may adopt a more “Laissez-Faire” (or hands off) style of leadership, providing little or no direction, but empowering the group to achieve their goals. In times of group conflict, the leader may need to adapt his/her style to resolve issues in the workplace. There are a number of resources available about leadership styles and group dynamics. Learn more about these subjects from the resources provided.

Question:
How should Family Readiness Group members relate to each other's rank or position in the unit?

Answer:
There is "no rank" among Family Readiness Group (FRG) members. Although the FRG is an official organization, its purpose is to provide a conduit for mutual support and assistance, a network of communication among members, the chain of command, and community resources. The unit commander may be senior in rank to the Soldiers in the FRG and serve in his official capacity at times during FRG meetings. However, he/she is an FRG member equal in status to all the other members of the FRG. He/she and the FRG leader should foster a climate of equality and respect for all FRG members. Membership in the FRG is equal, regardless of one’s rank, gender, marital status, age, race, or religion. This is fundamental to the success of Family Readiness Groups.

Question:
If my staff seems content in their current jobs, is it really necessary to provide additional training?

Answer:
Training and developing group members is a major responsibility of the leader of an organization, even if they are content in their current positions. Provide opportunities for growth, whether it is training to improve working conditions for your employees (such as diversity training, safety classes, or annual security procedure briefings), training to help them improve their work performance, or classes to help them advance to more responsible jobs. It is important to provide these opportunities to your employees, not only for their own job satisfaction, but also to keep your organization competitive. One of the greatest contributions a leader can make is to develop leadership at all levels of the organization to ensure its continued existence.
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