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How to get your team engaged with team development


You know that developing your team is a great idea, but your team aren’t so sure.  How are you going to bring them around to your way of thinking?  Do you even need to?  I think there’s a call for a bit of both.  Here’s why and how.


If you are wondering how you can get them engaged before you even start, then think about having a conversation with them about why you want to do team development, what the outcomes will be for the team and for them individually.  Run an exercise where they can each contribute one thing they’d like to see improve as a result of the sessions and build this into your plan.  I’ve seen this work really well when teams have been able to contribute skills or behaviours they’d like to learn to be better at and have seen them form part of the programme as a result – it made them feel listened to, appreciated for their thoughts and excited to see what was to come.


If you can get your team enthusiastic about the idea of team development then this is going to make your life a whole lot easier – they’ll turn up to sessions, they’ll contribute, they’ll take the learning away with them and your team will fly!


On the other hand if you can’t get them engaged before the first session, I still think there’s a way to bring them round.  Many people who groan at the idea of team development have probably been party to it before and seen nothing change as a result.  That’s where you can make a difference.  As the team leader, it’s your job to make sure things change from your side.

–       If your team raise things that need help from elsewhere in the business; follow it up and report back to your team.  Let them know you’ve represented them and are trying to help move things forwards.

–       If your team raise things about you (even if it’s not directed at you) then pay attention and change.  This shows them that you’ve heard them and you are committed to making things better too.

–       If your team raise things that you just can’t answer or are not able to be resolved, work with them to accept how things are – the circles of influence comes in useful here (search google for resources – use the one with control, influence and concern) Sometimes we just have to accept things, no matter how hard we wish they’d change.


Once your team can see things are changing, they’ll be more likely to engage and do some changing of their own.  Once that happens, as long as you keep up the momentum, you’ll have a team who start to thrive on making things better and seeing the results.


No matter which approach you need to take, continued action is the key.  I know it’s hard to keep going if no-one around you is coming along with you, but keep the conversations going, keep trying and slowly but surely you may find yourself surrounded by your team.  And if you are lucky, they’ll be with you every step of the way.



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