We’ve all heard those stories about work teams heading out to the wilderness to perform team-building activities involving all forms of exciting and adventurous tasks. The question is, do these activities and team building days actually help teams to communicate better?
The truth is, while results vary, team-building events can help co-workers to better understand one another and learn to be more effective at working together. Team-building exercises allow management and staff to forget about deadlines and corporate structure and focus on socializing informally. These exercises can also help employees work on more serious issues, such as learning problem-solving techniques and improving communication skills. This all helps them to build trust, which goes a long way toward achieving better communication.
What Not to Do
All that being said, sometimes the best efforts to connect a team fail. These tend to be the events planned by executives outside of the team environment, without the consultation of professional team building service suppliers. For example, if there are personal conflicts in a team, inviting them to play paintball may only serve to increase hostility and competition rather than eliminate those feelings. It’s important to take into consideration how the team interacts currently and plan non-competitive activities that break through existing issues. If co-workers rarely speak to one another, focus on communication exercises. If trust is an issue, focus on activities designed to increase trust among team members. TVG can help to select suitable activities to ensure the correct outcome is achieved.
Activities that everyone hates will also not go far in building trust. Childish activities like sing-alongs and rope climbing may distract employees from their work relationships, but if they resent having to be there, they won’t open up to improving the lines of communication.
Also, one-size-fits-all solutions do little to target your team’s specific issues. While starting with existing exercises is fine, customize them to fit your team’s needs. At TVG we pride ourselves on our ability to tailor make your day of team building to suit your desired outcomes, focusing on specific behavioral issues within the team.
Lastly, part of successful team building comes from a continuous focus. Planning one annual event does little for the group’s long-term success. A corporate culture integrating regular team-building exercises and allowing employees to connect and learn to trust each other will far better serve the group and organization than a big annual event.
When creating team-building events or exercises, be sure to take these factors into consideration:
- What’s the overall team climate (is it hostile? Indifferent?)?
- How much will management be involved (support from management helps reinforce the team building)?
- How long will it take (will workers resent being away from their families overnight?)?
- What’s the goal?
Where to Team Build
You don’t need to schedule a weekend retreat complete with a trapeze to get the job done. We have a fantastic selection of venues available for day team building activities, or we can set up a series of events in your office during hours so that an entire team can participate.
Focus on events that will zero in on the goals you set for the effort. Consider bringing in a consultant to analyze the team you want to help and recommend the best course for creating better engagement among co-workers.
Team building, if thought through carefully, can help your team become better at communicating and interacting. Take into consideration the team’s specific needs when planning a program.
Content based on an article by Lindsay Olson as published on the US News Money website.