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Effective Team Building

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

“The bigger your dream, the more important your team” Robin Sharma Team building is defined as activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, in this article we’ll explore what makes a good team and how to conduct the most effective team building activities inside and outside of the workplace. There are many more factors that contribute towards a good team, you cannot have an unhealthy or toxic work environment but expect weekly team building to still bring together great teams. The obvious question is, what makes a good team? Well each individual and their contributions, so we must focus plenty of time and energy on each individual of the team. Google’s study into successful teams found that establishments with good psychological safety produced the best teams as they can take advantage of contributing diverse ideas. To measure a team’s level of psychological safety, Amy Edmondson asked team members how strongly they agreed or disagreed with these statements:

  1. If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.

  2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.

  3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.

  4. It is safe to take a risk on this team.

  5. It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.

  6. No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.

  7. Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.

It will be worth your time to discuss these questions with your own team to get a better idea of where improvements are needed and which ones in order for you to build a hardworking, open, and happy team. Another great resource to learning about teams is Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on trusting teams where he discusses How do we create an environment in which our people can work at their natural best? Team building will be one of your greatest investments as a leader even if you aren’t so keen on it to begin with. There are so many positives to team building, such as creating stronger bonds that encourage great trust amongst employees, opening time for good communication to be worked upon in a casual setting and most importantly it will engage employees with each other and ultimately the business. So let’s dive into the most effective methods of team building. Firstly, your team building days or activities should not feel like work, you want to be allowing your employees to relax in a more casual setting without learning goals or extra work. Your goal of team building should be to have everyone spend time in an environment where they are free to bond naturally over slightly less work-related topics and events. There are four main types of team building which are; Communication activities, problem-solving and decision-making activities, adaptability and planning activities, and trust-building activities. Ideally, you’ll want to cycle through the different types of activities or find activities that contain two or more of these points. Your employees will be more engaged and excited if the activities you plan are relevant to them in some way, Forbes has a great example, stating “When I found out a member of one of our teams was afraid of heights - and had always hoped to conquer that fear - we took the whole crew to the country’s longest zipline. Being thrust into a thrilling situation, 600 feet above Whistler, helped us all gel that day.” Be observant with your employees at all times to be aware of their needs, plenty of what they say could spark great team building activity, and when the activities are relevant, not only will everyone be more encouraged to partake, you’ll also be proving that you are a leader that listens well and cares about employees. When employees feel heard, they are more likely to pitch great ideas as well as feel happier within their workplace. A more simple activity that some companies may overlook too often is running team contests in the workplace. The type of contest you run will vary for each organisation since relevancy is key and team contests work well when they somewhat align with a business objective which helps make work seem more appealing. You’ll also want to ensure that it engages as many of the team as possible since the aim is to involve and improve relationships so try to avoid anyone being left out. To make team contests more exciting they should be run over a short period of time, most leaders suggest about 1 week for a contest, but this will depend greatly on how big or small the contest itself is. Lastly, always ensure your contests are fair, avoid the possibility for bias, pay to win, loopholes or exceptions, unfairness will not go unnoticed and this could cause some unwanted negativity in the workplace or amongst employees.

A poorly managed team building day can do far more harm than good, avoid throwing together a day out just to keep the employees happy, the likelihood is that they'll notice a lack of effort and may not even attend, or it could turn out to be quite awkward. Avoid those by getting to know your co-workers properly and then proceed to plan the appropriate events. You should always have a small goal you'd like to achieve through team building which will help you decide what you should do, for example, if you feel your team should loosen up around each other then it may be best to go out for a few drinks, visit someone's favourite bar etc if you believe your team should work on their problem solving skills as a group, then activities such as an escape room are perfect to get the ball rolling. Another goal may be that your employees need to communicate better about work and life-related topics, get them talking by choosing quieter environments to visit or teamwork-based activities. If for some reason a day out isn't doable for your organisation there are plenty of other options where you can host team building exercises in the workplace or even remotely. A potential idea could be to have a board games or video games day at the office, allow employees to bring in consoles or hand played games and get everyone involved! Games are a great way to encourage communication and/or problem solving skills depending on the game and overall will help everyone loosen up. For a remote team building session, we could suggest a zoom call whilst everyone participates in an online game, one game many would suggest is "gartic phone" which is an online game that mixes Pictionary with the telephone game, there is no need to install anything so it is quite simple but a great way for the team to spend time together and have a little fun. For more remote team building suggestions head over to aokcreative where you'll find a large array of options.


The Modern Mind Group are emotioneering human performance not engineering it.

As people operations and performance consultants, we work with your business to identify and improve performance gaps so that you can be more profitable and professionally develop your people. Over 12 years of expertise in people operations and performance with results to back it all up. Why settle for the average when there is a world of possibility when you know how to achieve it? Untapped potential - Let's go get it!


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