Team Building Exercises

There are hundreds of team building exercises, but what is key and paramount – it is that you be able to choose exactly those exercises that really make your team more effective.

What does team effectiveness mean? It means two things:

  • First, it means that your team be able to consistently make the best possible decisions
  • And second, it means that your team be able to flawlessly execute such decisions

    In essence, team effectiveness boils down to two things: decision-making quality and execution ability.

    In the market, there are indoor and outdoor team building exercises, there are ropes courses, there is water rafting, etc. But if these exercises don’t help your team make better decisions and execute such decisions, these exercises are useless.

    These are the critical areas you must pay attention to when choosing your team building exercises:

    1) Decision-making
    2) Trust building
    3) Conflict management & commitment building

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    Let’s talk about decision-making first

    What is the main ingredient in decision-making?

    Information – the more information your team members put on the table for all team members to see, the more likely it is that your team will make the best possible decision.

    And what do your team members need in order to put everything that is inside their brains on the table for all to see?

    Your team members need to be 100 per cent honest. Without honesty, your team members won’t truly speak up – hence, they will withhold valuable opinions, perspectives, and in essence, experience (intuition).

    And what does your team members need in order to be 100 per cent honest and speak up with candor?

    They need to trust one another – without trust, your team members won’t ever say out loud everything that is inside their heads, because they might be afraid to contradict, to offend, and / or to hurt another team member.

    Trust is the cornerstone of effective decision-making.

    So when you think about team building exercises, think in terms of trust building.

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    There are four essential ingredients in building trust in a team – without these ingredients, all of your team building exercises will be fruitless.

    First: If you are the leader of your team, you must truly respect your direct reports – treat them as if they are going to be your boss in a few months down the road.

    Second: You must be authentic with them. Authenticity means three things: 1) You must have integrity. 2) You must be humble (humility means that you recognize your mistakes, that you ask questions to your direct reports, and that you genuinely listen and learn from them). 3) You must be willing to be vulnerable in front of your direct reports. Vulnerability means that you not only show to them your strengths, but also your weaknesses, your mistakes, your shortcomings, your limitations, etc.

    An authentic leader inspires much more trust than someone who is not authentic.

    Third: You must be a role model to your employees. Being a role model means that you are committed to your company’s Vision, Mission, Values and Strategy.

    And fourth: There must be interpersonal congruency among all of your team members.

    Interpersonal congruency is the degree to which members’ appraisals of one another are similar to their self-assessment on dimensions relevant to team functioning. The more interpersonal congruency the more trust among team members – and vice versa.

    Again, when you think about team building, think about exercises that will increase the interpersonal congruency of your team.

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    Also, team building exercises are of no use if your team doesn’t know how to manage team conflict and how to make out of conflict a source of creativity and innovation.

    And finally, the best exercises will be useless if you don’t know how to build commitment to the decisions made.

    Once again, there are hundreds of team exercises, but make sure that the ones you choose will really help your team with your decision-making and with your execution ability.

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    Conclusion: You don’t need to pay a fortune for team building exercises. You probably don’t even need a so-called expert in team exercises.

    The team building exercises that you pick don’t even need to be fancy. You can probably design your own team building exercises as long as such exercises help you build and improve the criteria discussed on this page.

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    If you would like your organization to learn more about team building exercises through my speaking, training, or consulting services, please, click on this link.

    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 useful skills, go to my More Skills page.

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