Team building has many benefits, to both the organization and the individual employees that make up the tam. Team building helps to create a sense of cohesion, reinforce shared goals and values, and greater camaraderie. Team building also helps teams be more effective, as they communicate more openly and are more motivated to pursue shared goals. An investment in team building activities is an investment in success.
Better Communication and Conflict Resolution
One of the greatest benefits of team building is better communication. People who have a sense that they are on a team, with shared values and goals, are more likely to be personally invested in one another. This facilitates communication because people want to reach shared goals, and have a shared sense of purpose or vision. Team building helps team members develop strong communication skills, and also helps the team establish communication systems. Improved conflict resolution is another benefit of team building. Clearer communication in and of itself helps to facilitate better conflict resolution. The shared goals and values of a team, along with the increased personal investment and stronger personal relationships that form in a team, also helps to foster an environment in which conflicts are addressed openly and productively.
Team building helps to create more effective teams. Team building activities create a sense that team members are pulling together toward a common goal or set of goals. This sense of shared purpose tends to foster effectiveness and productivity. Team building also helps the team find greater effectiveness through developing skills in delegating tasks, collaborating, communicating, and creating processes that leverage each team member’s skills. A team that has a sense that they are working together, and in which the team members trust each other to honor their commitments, works more efficiently and effectively.
Team building activities can be a powerful source of motivation. Spending time together as a team is a chance to reinforce shared goals, set new shared goals, and strengthen relationships with team members. A sense of shared goals and values serves as valuable motivation. When infused with a spirit of healthy competition and camaraderie, team building activities also motivate team members because there is a sense of not just working for one’s self but for the good of the entire team. Team building activities help remind your team what they’re working for and why, which can be a valuable boost to motivation.
One of the most powerful benefits of team building is a sense of camaraderie. The reinforcement of shared values and shared goals which goes along with team building helps create a sense of camaraderie and collegiality. Team building activities help to strengthen the interpersonal relationships between team members. Team building gives team members a chance to get to know each other beyond just their work functions, and helps to foster a sense of shared identity. Taking the time to create relationships that go beyond simply interacting over work responsibilities helps team members to invest more in each other emotionally and personally. This creates a sense that team members aren’t just pieces of a process, but people with feelings and needs. When team members have a sense of camaraderie, they are more likely to want to collaborate, help each other, and support each other.
Types of Team Building Activities
There is a wide variety of team building activities that you can use in developing your team. Using a mix of games, activities, and social events helps keep your team building plan interesting and engaging. Each team will respond to different activities, so be open to switching up the type of team building you do. Also seek input from your team about which activities they enjoy and find valuable.
Studies show that fostering a sense of play is a great way to foster camaraderie and team work. Using games also infuses a sense of fun and, depending on the game, a sense of friendly competition that can help people open up and form strong relationships. There are a variety of types of games you can use in team building, including:
• Icebreakers or “get to know you” games
• Shared task games
• Problem-solving games
• Interaction games
No matter what type of game or games you chose for a team building session, there are several key components to any effective team building game:
• Focus on learning and remembering names
• Focus on the game itself
• Focus on strengthening relationships
• Cheers and pats on the back
Group activities can also be a great way to build a team. Activities that are created specifically for team building are one option. Your training department can be a great source of information for team building activities, and there are a variety of excellent books and workbooks to draw from. Activities which are not specifically “team building” activities, but which encourage your team to interact with each other, are also valuable for building your team. Simply engaging in an activity together, whether a recreational activity or a community service activity, can give your team members a chance to take the focus off of work and instead focus on getting to know each other.
Training, development, and education also offer opportunities for team building. When your team builds a new skill together, learns a new technology or process, or otherwise engages in professional development as a group, this reinforces shared goals. Include some education in your training plan about team building specifically as well. Engaging in education about how to function better as a team has clear benefits, as team members build a set of skills together that they can then apply to working with each other. However, any shared learning experience has the potential to create a stronger team. When people learn together, they support each other’s development and can find a shared sense of purpose in learning something new or building a new skill. Take time to ask your team what they’d like to learn. You can also focus on the team’s strengths and development areas in planning education.
Don’t underestimate the power of social gatherings to build your team. While it’s always important to recognize that family and other commitments can make it difficult for some team members to engage in social time outside of work, gatherings can still be a valuable tool in your team building kit. Whether you have regular team lunches where the topic of conversation is anything but work, an annual holiday gathering, or period get together after work for dinner, drinks, or other fun, social gatherings help to take your team out of their work environment so they can focus on each other. Ask your team what type of gatherings they would enjoy. Be wary of gatherings that center on alcohol, both for liability reasons and because it excludes those team members who do not drink. Vary the type of social gatherings so that those who may not enjoy one type of gathering have other options. Encouraging your team to spend time together as colleagues helps to further foster camaraderie and relationships.
Source: Team Building for Managers workshop