Designing Your Own Team Building Techniques

Team building activities can be an intricate part of the corporate workplace. In order to increase productivity and morale, members must feel connected to their colleagues on a deeper level, not just because they work under the same roof or get paid by the same company.

Team building activities can and should be a continuous part of your organization. If they occur sporadically, their effectiveness is diminished. If you think of your company as a machine, regular maintenance is a must in order to achieve maximum performance. Team building can provide that maintenance and become part of the work atmosphere employees look forward to. There are many different types of team building activities, ranging in cost and lasting from minutes to days. Below are a few suggestions to help you get the ball rolling.

What’s the Point?

Decide the purpose of the team building activity ahead of time and have a specific goal in mind. Having a common understanding of that goal will help your team achieve it. Some popular team building goals include:

  • Getting to know one another (including new employees, managers, and leaders)
  • Improving problem-solving and communication skills
  • Learning to work as a group
  • Fostering creativity
  • Addressing weaknesses
  • Developing conflict resolution skills
  • Adjusting to change
  • Boosting morale

On Site Ideas

Some ideas for activities within the workplace can include:

  • A scavenger hunt through the office
  • Trivia games
  • Survival scenarios (i.e. divide into groups and tell each group they are stranded on a desert island. Than have each group work together to decide what 12 items they need to survive.)

Off Site Ideas

If you’re looking for something to get everybody out of the office to interact together, try activities such as:

  • Go-cart racing
  • Paintball competitions
  • A family barbecue at a park
  • A community service project
  • River rafting expeditions

What Works?

In order for a team building activity to be effective, it must engage the members of the team, requiring them to think about their abilities, and the abilities of their co-workers in new ways. Generally, a productive activity:

  • Engages members in something they are unfamiliar with. This teaches people to rely on each other and develop trust in the members of the team.
  • Opens the doors of communication between members. By talking through a problem or a fictional scenario, teams learn how to effectively communicate their ideas.
  • Develops a sense of belonging. Employees tend to be more productive if they feel they are a valuable part of the group. Each person has something to contribute to the larger whole; a good activity will help pinpoint what that something is.
  • Promotes the sharing of different points of view. By encouraging varied viewpoints, team building can allow people to consider solutions they never thought of before.

What Doesn’t Work?

Avoid competition based activities, as groups can feel pitted against each another. This can hinder bonding for the entire group. The ultimate goal is to give members a sense they are “on the same team,” so creating a rivalry can prevent that from happening.

Be mindful of those you pair up in particular activities. Being forced to communicate with and trust each other can be a positive thing, but it may end up aggravating conflict that already exists between two people or groups. This problem could be lessened over time if you have regular team building exercises that consistently enforce team bonding.

Remember What’s Important

As you conduct team building activities, keep your original goals in mind. Are these events achieving your goals? Are they addressing weaknesses within your company or organization? If not, modify the activities to create a custom fit for your company and its team.

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