Team building activities can be a great way to build group cohesion and a teamwork mentality among your staff, sales team, or office/department squad.
But not all team building activities are equal. And before you wade into the deep end to plunge your team into an array of team-building tasks, tests, or games, it’s important to understand where the value of such activities truly comes from.
In this post, you’re going to learn 5 tips for how to make team building activities as successful as possible. These tips can be utilized for just about any type of team-building exercise. But when you add them to the mix, you’ll find that people will respond better—and that your exercises will generate an even greater spirit of teamwork amongst your crew.
Let’s break it down and dive into it.
1. Make It Personal
Team building activities are meant to bring your team together. But this is highly unlikely to happen unless you make things personal. See, teamwork is a human endeavor.
Understanding your company’s goals will help employees to understand their role within the overarching strategy. But this won’t necessarily contribute to teamwork, especially if some of your team members just happen to have personality types that don’t mesh well.
Therefore, your best chance to get your crew to work well together, and to maximize the effectiveness of any team-building activity, is to make their connections with each other more personal.
When your employees have greater personal stock in each other’s lives, they’ll tend to see their relationships with one another as more worthy of investment. But this can only be accomplished if you can get them to open up personally with one another.
2. Create ‘Common Ground’ Opportunities
When employees gain more common ground in each other’s lives, they’ll tend to care more about one another and take a greater interest in being a functional team together. How do you create common ground amongst your team?
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to pair up team members who don’t have as much in common or as much personal overlap.
For example, you can give them a task, a project, or a puzzle to solve together, but also try to create an incentive for them to get to know each other on a more personal level as well.
Even if employees don’t have a lot of common ground outside of work, the workplace itself can be a strong and positive source of commonality.
Leverage this to give your team the opportunity to create common ground together, and you’ll tend to see a lot more successful team building taking place.
3. Encourage Connectedness
Hotel Engine does a great job of describing this in a guide they published on the topic of team building retreat activities:
“At the end of the day, the overarching goal is to care for each other on a human level. If your company can bring a bit more of that attitude back into the business, it’ll do wonders for morale and culture.”
Encouraging connectedness amongst your team members could mean:
- Frequent communication
- Using team-building activities that require deeper conversation
- Giving employees the opportunity to share their own goals and dreams with the rest of the team
- Recognizing and celebrating everyone’s unique contribution to the company and its goals
- Taking the time to facilitate team building activities that facilitate open sharing and personal bonding
Building connectedness isn’t always easy. But it’s truly a magic bullet for breaking down the walls that may exist between team members to encourage a greater capacity for teamwork.
4. Use Empathy To Bring Teammates Together
Empathy is best defined as the ability to recognize and understand the feelings and viewpoints of other people.
A company that uses empathy to help bring its teams together is going to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to teamwork.
But how do you do this?
One of the best ways to increase empathy awareness amongst your team is to highlight it during team building activities.
When you lead with empathy, bring attention to the ideal of empathy during team building activities, and then encourage your team to utilize empathy on a regular basis as well, you significantly increase the odds that they’ll begin to empathize more with one another as well.
When empathy is increased amongst your team, you can be sure that their sense of being a close-knit team will increase as well.
5. Allow Plenty Of Room For Honesty
Always make sure to give your team the opportunity to be honest with not only leadership but also each other during team-building exercises.
When you give your team the opportunity to be honest and they learn to trust these opportunities, they’ll just communicate and connect better.
When you allow room for humans to be humans, you greatly increase the odds that people will bond and increase their caring for one another. And these are definitely things that you want to cultivate during team-building activities.
There you have it. 5 tips for successful team-building activities. All that’s left now is to get to work. Use these tips to help you maximize the potential of your next team-building activity, and you should quickly begin to notice positive forward momentum.