Team Building - The Good, The Bad and the Dangerous
29th April 2016
Businesses are always looking for ways to bring the whole workforce together. However, sometimes they can take it too far. We take a look at some of the best and worst team building activities, with some funny ones thrown in too for good measure.
Establishing a personal relationship with employees can go a long way and it doesn’t require significant funds. Research has shown that trust and confidence are part of the 3 key drivers of employee engagement. The use of staff socials and team meetings can help build relations and communications, creating a friendly atmosphere and thus collaborating to meet company objectives
- The Trust Game - Starting with a game that everyone has tried and probably failed at – well, at least failed to take anything away from - this is where one person holds their arms outstretched with the intention of catching their colleague who is standing directly in front of them. The colleague then falls back into the arms of the co-worker who is fully prepared for the situation at 8.30am and guaranteed to have sufficient upper-body strength to ensure absolutely zero chance of injuries and everyone is suddenly part of a better functioning, well-rounded team. This sounds rather farfetched, if you ask me. Not only do staff just think it’s a waste of time but it promotes office injuries. All it takes is a slight mismatch in the size of your partner and you could well end up flattened by Big Steve from Accounts. If it’s not a mismatch then a distraction from an incoming text will leave you being embraced by the carpet rather than your colleague. An exercise I think we can move away from.
- Talking in Circles – One of the good ones to get your employees working as a unit. This game will get your staff to really focus on listening and communicate effectively. All you need for this game is a long piece of string tied at its end to form a circle. Everyone must hold the string with both hands waist high. Without letting go they, must construct shapes with the string, the shapes will progressively get harder. To elevate the complexity make everyone shut their eyes for periods to see if they can cope and work well together.
- Bathing Experiences – Why? Just why? People are uncomfortable in public changing rooms, let alone bathing house or a spa. Being forced to spend time with colleagues while only partially clothed is probably the worst idea conceived by management ever. The idea behind this is that being naked (or nearly naked) breaks down barriers and the hierarchy between staff. Essentially, it’s a disarming process that will allow them to express their opinions and talk about things they usually would be too fearful of conversing about with colleagues. A good idea? No, there are plenty of other less embarrassing methods of getting staff to air their opinions.
- Two Lies and One Truth - Not exactly a team building exercise but one of the best if not the best ice breaker game. Everyone in the group goes around and gives two dishonest facts about themselves and one true fact. Once everyone has aired the fact and fiction it is up to the group to try and decipher which is the fact amongst the three. This group activity gives them the opportunity to find a common ground and gauge what each other’s hobbies and interests are.
This is just an insight to the possibilities of team building and the things you absolutely should not do or enforce on your employees. Just remember the words of Lao Tzu when carrying out these activities; “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves”. p>