2022 update: StrengthsFinder is now known as CliftonStrengths. Same test, new name.
If you’re a manager of a team in any capacity, the importance of regular focus on team building should be obvious; your team can only perform to the best of their ability if they are working cohesively, harmoniously and playing to each other’s natural strengths.
Without dedicated team-building time, how can a group of people who just happen to work alongside each other become a happy, productive and successful team? It would be lovely if it all just fell into place by chance but in our experience, this is extremely rare!
There’s a great Forbes article on the value of investing in team-building and this section stood out for us:
“Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.”
Why Use StrengthsFinder-Based Team Building?
As the above quote suggests, most of us groan and sink into our chairs when a ‘team-building day’ is announced. We all picture a day spent in a magnolia conference room with flip-board paper stuck to every wall, awkward introduce-ourselves-to-the-group requests and preparing to fight a yawn for 8 hours.
You’ll be very glad to hear we approach things rather differently! By working our team-building sessions around a foundation of StrengthsFinder techniques, we avoid the expected norms.
Our team-building sessions leave attendees genuinely informed, engaged and motivated.
Here at MadeYou, we are lucky to have amongst us the only Gallup StrengthsFinder accredited coaches in Malta – and there’s a reason we’ve invested so much in training our team in this fantastic method of coaching, team building and personality exploration.
Gallup’s data shows that
“by simply learning their strengths, employees are 7.8% more productive, and teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity.”
We’ve yet to find a strengths-based system that better encourages personal growth and team productivity. Its detailed reports provide individuals with their top 5 strengths from a wide-ranging list of 34. There is no negativity, no mention of weaknesses and the strength descriptors are incredibly nuanced- ringing true for every individual we’ve taken through the program.
The effect of using individual StrengthFinder reports when coming together as a team is pretty simple: confident, informed individuals led by confident, informed managers, coming together with a genuine understanding of each other’s natural strengths and a common language to use to discuss them leads to a harmonious and productive team environment.
Gallup’s researchers have found that
“workgroups that receive strengths-based development have: 14% to 29% increased profit, 10% to 19% increased sales and 3% to 7% higher customer engagement.”
The bottom line speaks for itself.
Before Your Strengths-Based Team Building Session
Firstly, the whole team (including the manager) needs to complete a StrengthFinder assessment. It takes around 40 mins and you’re given 20 seconds to answer each question. The assessment can’t be paused so it must be completed in a distraction and interruption-free environment.
There’s no fooling the highly complex algorithm so participants are asked to answer honestly with whatever response comes to mind without over-thinking or analysing.
Next, one of our accredited team will analyse the results using the Gallup grid method to compare the team’s individual strengths and to gain an understanding of how they may work best as a team.
Before the team session is held, your MadeYou coach will meet with the manager on a one-to-one basis to discuss both the manager’s personal StrengthsFinder results and to discuss the team grid in detail.
For the manager, this session is invaluable. Managers need to see how their team operates, what motivates individual employees, and what areas they need complementary partnerships. The grid view provides all this and more.
You’ll talk about what tasks would be best suited to which individuals as their strengths and the challenges they may face are brought to life. You’ll also come away with suggested methods for coaching and an understanding of how to motivate your team as well as discussing what you’d like to achieve through the upcoming team session.
You can read more about how to get the most out of your grid here but our coaches will take you through everything during your one-to-one.
The Team Session Itself
Our two-hour group sessions involve a full recap of everyone’s Strengths report with a full overview of how those strengths could be utilised as a team.
The hope is that the cause of past misunderstandings, disputes and frustrations will come to light as they become more informed about the people they are working with.
We then encourage (non-cringe) team activities to aid discussion around who may be suited to certain tasks and how they should be approached:
Example One: Provide realistic scenarios and ask the team which of their peers they would call upon to gain input while always considering the issue and the strengths that may suit that issue.
Example Two: Ask the team to discuss how they should approach a certain scenario with each of their colleagues and guide them towards the best approach based on their and their colleague’s known strengths.
All of our activities aim to alter the way your team communicate and delegates. Before the session, they may well have given work to whoever historically handled that task based on job title or habit and approached their colleagues in meetings and discussions without a second thought.
After the session, their behaviour should become increasingly self-aware, thoughtful and strategic. They will be coached to stop and think about not only who may be best suited to the task but also how best to approach them based on their strengths report.
As for team managers, they can expect to come away with a far deeper understanding of who is better suited to individual tasks and who may work best together to complete group tasks- resulting in a happier, more productive team that can only reflect well on them and their bottom line.
After the Session
Not one to leave things open-ended, after the session, we provide managers with a detailed report on their team, including individual Strengths, overall team Strengths and suggested methods for moving forward more effectively by utilising all of the new information.
When leading a team, it is super important to really get to know and understand what motivates each team member and also to be aware of the things they may need support with. This is particularly valuable for a new leader (As I was when we did the session), but it’s also valuable as the team grows or changes personnel.ScottChief Marketing Officer at Hero Gaming
Doing a structured, group “Strengths” session with Richard (who facilitated), was a fantastic way to recap/refresh each individuals’ strengths, allow people to discover how they worked differently than their peers, brought out areas of friction in wholly new and constructive ways, and overall was a great way for me as their manager to understand each person better and have a much clearer picture of the way the team worked and interacted.ScottChief Marketing Officer at Hero Gaming
The tasks in the workshop were not only fun but allowed us to see things in ways we hadn’t. To see things, we had missed and things we could do on a day-to-day basis to have much more productive and frictionless interaction and collaboration. Knowing everyone’s strengths, I also have a far better understanding of which individuals I would approach to do certain tasks (especially those outside of the usual day to day), and confidence that the results will be superior.ScottChief Marketing Officer at Hero Gaming
The team has really come together after the session, working more smoothly together with less conflict and more fun—not to mention higher levels of delivery.ScottChief Marketing Officer at Hero Gaming
The course was very helpful, one of the highlights for me was that my team leaders were asked to decide themselves who would be the best fit for various different tasks.CaroleHead of Customer Support at Rhinoceros Ltd
Furthermore, it showed all of us what we need from each other to fully utilise our strengths as a team and how to make our weaker areas work as a team.CaroleHead of Customer Support at Rhinoceros Ltd
I can suggest this course for any manager!CaroleHead of Customer Support at Rhinoceros Ltd
Our Team Building sessions are suitable for any group size and invaluable for harnessing your team’s potential.
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