Any good manager knows that a cohesive team and great people are the secret component of any successful operation. There are hundreds of team building activities that are said to increase productivity and team cohesiveness, but how do choose what’s right for your team?
Team Building That Is Right for You
A good team is a living organism. Just like “you are what you eat” a team is just as good to the extent you invest in it. Before you choose the team building exercise you want to begin with consider these 3 important aspects of team building activities:
One Goal – a good team is one that has one goal, where this goal is understood and “visible” by all members of the team. It’s important for all members to have the understanding that they are working towards that one goal even if what they are currently doing in their day to day tasks doesn’t seem to be all that connected to this goal. [To demonstrate this you can use team building games to show how everyone is needed and interconnected to attain a certain goal.]
Two Way Communication – listening is an important quality that all members of the team should develop. Team members need to feel that there is someone who is listening to them and that their feedback is valued not only by the manager but by other team members as well. [Round table discussions, where everyone is given an opportunity to speak and is respected is a great way to hold meetings on a regular basis as well as mediate conflict...a post with rules of the round table is coming soon.]
Three Point Follow Up – team building is a concept that needs to be reinforced time after time to be effective. Follow up should occur right at the end of the team building session to receive feedback, then a week after the event took place and once again a month following the event.
*Ideally team building events should be part of your organizational culture and there shouldn’t be long breaks between team building sessions so that teams can build on previous events and learn from their success and failures. Here’s a great article on team building success that I recommend checking out.
7 Team Building Activities
Disclaimer: for the record, “together” is a keyword for all these activities, I’m a strong advocate of eliminating competition as much as possible from any team building activities. Competition should be done against a third factor, such as time or a previously set record and not set teams up against teach other. This requires a little more skills and organization but will yield greater results in the long run once this become part of the organizational culture.
Building Together: team building games for the workplace are a great team building activity and can easily be organized using just whatever is available in your work environment.
Role Playing: an important part of learning is being able to be able to take on someone else’s role. This enables team members to see themselves from the side as well as being able to view situations from another person’s point of view. “CEO for the day” is an example of a very empowering role playing game.
Team Lunch: food brings people together, whether this happens in a form of a fancy dinner or a potluck it’s very easy to bond over a good meal.
Happy Hour: going for drinks after work is a very popular team building activity, the question is whether it is appropriate for all?! I think that it certainly depends on the culture of the organization and the people in the team. Although it can be a lot of fun I would recommend taking caution with this one.
Partying: taking on the responsibility of organizing a party for the team or department is one of the most simple and beneficial team building activities for the workplace that your team can engage in around the holiday season and to celebrate success.
Volunteering: many charities have group volunteer options; for example you can help run a local event by integrating the team in all the aspects of the event, this will show how well the team works together outside the workplace and in a different.
Fundraising: this can be used to reinforce the concept of having one goal, by fundraising as a team for a local foundation through initiatives such as heart month. for example.
In conclusion, there are many more team building activities that you can investigate but remember to be different. Did you know that companies like Google and Cisco give their employees time to work on creative projects of their own, during company time. If your main resource are the people that you hire why not give your most valuable resource the time to focus on developing themselves and the work environment they are part of. By making quality team building activities a part of your corporate culture you are in fact increasing your ROI as well as their commitment to their team and the company.