Session 4 Mentor Guidance – Teamwork

Notes – Delivering the session

The session is designed to be very hands on with some time to share ideas about teams and reflect on the activities.

The PowerPoint may be used to give some structure to the session but the emphasis should be on active group work and having fun working together.

It may not be possible to practise all the activities and the session plan allows leaders to make choices, assuming that time is limited.  Bear in mind that it may be possible to use some of the activities in in other training sessions as starters or warm ups.

What makes a group a team?

Much of what happens during training happens in groups, be it the group of participants, working or evaluation groups, informal groups or a group of trainers. Group behaviour ranges from total chaos to dramatic success but success happens most frequently when groups have become teams.

Groups and teams are not interchangeable terms, nor is ‘team’ a feel-good label for what is clearly a group.

A group becomes a team when

– its members feel a sense of ownership for their work and a commitment to commonly established objectives

– there is a shared understanding that personal and team goals are best reached with mutual support

– there is participate decision making

– members can contribute their personal resources, qualities and competencies to the success of the work

– there is a climate of trust and encouragement to express ideas, opinions, disagreements, feelings and questions, where members make efforts to understand each other’s point of view

– members are encouraged to develop their skills and apply them during the work

– conflict is considered a normal aspect of interaction and is viewed as an opportunity for new ideas, creativity and improvement.

Team building and team life- Forming the Team

Team building is instrumental in creating an atmosphere that allows team members to get to know each other and to find their place in the team. It is the basis for creating an open climate of trust and respect which is needed to encourage personal expression and contribution, mutual support and a constructive use of team diversity during the training. Team building should include sharing the trainers’

– expectations of the training course and teamwork

– motivation for being part of this team, and

– prior experiences in work with young people and training and other experiences of relevance for the particular course. Further elements of team building can be getting a first idea of everyone’s ways of working and some of their strong and weaker points. Finally and importantly, it should provide an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and the prospect of working together. Yes, it should say, working together can be fun! Team building can be done by talking about these points during the meeting or informally over dinner. Specific exercises can help the team to start working together. They can also be good icebreakers and help the trainers relax into the team

Some suggestions for successful team communication

  • Listen to each other and sincerely try to understand what the other person is saying
  • Ask questions
  • Clarify concepts and understandings
  • Deal with emotions
  • Offer support
  • Give also positive feedback
  • Give constructive criticism

Some principles for successful team work

– Commitment! A team can only work effectively if every member wants it to work.

– Take the time needed to discuss basic approaches and ideas, to evaluate your group work and give to feedback to each other.

– Make a contract; everyone is in charge!

– Act on the basis of commonly established basic values and objectives.

– Accept yourself and the others.

– Self-responsibility: I am responsible for my own actions and behaviour.

– Trust in and support each other’s abilities and performance.

– Respect everyone’s limits.

– Be ready to take the risk to do something new, challenge yourself.

– Accept mistakes as a chance for learning.

– Process-oriented thinking: the objectives are important, but the process is important as well. The group is able to improve itself by examining its procedures and practices.

– Establish some procedures to analyse situations and solve problems.

– Be ready to accept emotions as part of the work process.

– Keep a balance between efficiency and social quality.

– Have pride in the accomplishments of the team.

– Group work is also fun! If it isn’t, something is wrong.

The content of the various annexes associated with this session can be found below. This enables the content to be translated by the translation plugin available in this site.

Content of Annex 1 Team building (Powerpoint)

Slide 2


  • Who are we?
  • Why are we running this session?
  • What are our aims and goals?

Slide 3

What makes a group a team?

  • A sense of ownership for goals and outcomes
  • Shared decision making
  • Individual contributions are valued
  • Everybody’s voice is heard
  • Members learn from one another
  • Conflict is accepted and managed
  • Mutual support brings results

Slide 4

Working together

  • Trust and mutual support is essential in a team
  • Make it be fun
  • Group juggle/Group counting – Reflect on how well the group worked during these activities
  • Remember there are lots of roles and personalities within a team
  • Reflect on roles and personalities as they have emerged so far

Slide 5

Working together

  • Listen to each other
  • Ask questions
  • Explain as clearly as you can
  • Deal with emotions
  • Support and encourage
  • Offer constructive criticism

Slide 6

Working together

  • Try to bear these principles in mind in these activities
  • Helium Stick
  • Human Knot
  • Reflect on how well we are working together

Slide 7

Conclusion 1

  • A team can only work effectively if every member wants it to work.
  • Take the time to discuss basic approaches and ideas, evaluate your work and give feedback to each other. Have a process.
  • Trust and support each other’s abilities and performance.
  • Respect everyone’s limits.
  • Be responsible for your own behaviour

Slide 8

Conclusion 2

  • Be prepared to take a risk and do something new, challenge yourself.
  • Accept mistakes as a chance for learning.
  • Analyse situations to help solve problems.
  • Emotions are real so be prepared to deal with them.
  • Take pride in the accomplishments of the team.
  • Have fun!