Team building activities' benefits are usually present in the minds of business owners, managers and team leaders – and as such – they plan and promote them as part of the their on-going staff training.
As useful as these events are, it is also considered that they will only continue to be useful for both staff and employer as long as company owners consider the reason for the activity and what they hope to achieve before planning.
Further benefits could be had from following the four tips below ...
1) Know your team and plan appropriately
The main objective of a team building exercise is to take the staff out of their normal routine, normal groups and normal level of comfort in order to observe their behaviour and encourage them to act differently. As necessary as this is, it’s also necessary to consider the needs of the staff in planning. Ages, levels of physical ability and health issues are essential considerations as it’s worth remembering that although your team will perform better whilst they’re being challenged, those results won’t be forthcoming if they’re too terrified to perform.
2) Keep it fun
It would be foolish to suggest that nobody on your team will be competitive and all will take the activity in the spirit of fun but wherever possible you should be encouraging healthy competition as opposed to cut-throat behaviour in all of your team building activities. The key is for every single person on the bonding activity to get the benefits of the day rather than the two winners to enjoy themselves and everyone else resent their success. The key is to build teams rather than watching them splinter because of members who are taking the game or activity too seriously, inserting dominance where it isn’t appropriate or sulking because they’re used to getting their own way. A further point to this is to remember the mannerisms of your team members, and their quirks, when setting up the groups.
3) Think outside the box when planning
Thanks to the popularity of team building activities, many people have not only attended them but have attended the same activity time and time again. It’s important not to fall back on the traditional ball-passing activities as these will only have the benefit of getting your team to remember their giant in-box or in-tray. Remember instead that a modern equivalent or a novel idea is much more likely to spark their interest and encourage full participation.
One of the major mistakes which many managers and business owners make is to forget about the team building activities as soon as they’ve left the event. In forgetting what they as supervisors have learned and observed, what they’re doing is ensuring that their staff will do the exact same. Ensure that as you’re observing the behaviour and reactions of your team, you can recall them for use back at the work site. Whether you choose to incorporate them as part of new roles, or bring back certain exercises to do as part of weekly staff meetings, what you learn is just as important as what your staff learn.
To learn about the skills you need to manage the performance of your direct reports, go to my Management Skills page.
To learn about the skills you need to lead the performance of your entire organization, go to my Leadership Skills page.
To learn about other practical leadership skills, go to my More Skills page.