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July 30, 2019

Business

Why managers should do team building exercises.

Team playing a game hands in

Every organization needs a positive company culture to succeed. A negative atmosphere will make employees less productive during the day, feel anxious or angry about coming to work, and sometimes can make them go so far as to quit. Effective corporate leaders understand that sometimes company culture can get toxic or negative. Their biggest priority is to help ensure that everyone works well together so that things can get done well, and every team member has a good experience at their job. 

Team building exercises can be helpful to help managers build a company culture that is beneficial for everyone in your corporate environment. This will help retain workers, increase productivity, and help employees enjoy their time at work. Sometimes these kinds of activities are best for managers to pursue, other times an HR professional can help get these kinds of activities going. A degree in HR Management, can help you get the specific training you need for the other tasks of an HR manager as well.

Whether you’re a manager or an HR professional, it’s important to understand why team building is beneficial for your team members and what kinds of exercises can help your specific company.

What is the purpose of team building.

Team building activities can give your employees a chance to know one another, as well as get to know their managers. Good leaders understand that employees who don’t even know, let alone trust, their colleagues and managers are going to have a hard time working well together. Team building activities can act as an ice breaker to help employees get to know each other, while having fun. The kinds of tasks or games used for team building are perfect for introducing and creating connections between team members.

Beyond just being acquainted and knowing everyone’s names, you want team members to have shared teamwork opportunities and build up relationships. Team building activities can help create those relationships and connections that are vital for a work environment. The games and tasks allow for a professional, controlled environment where team members can have fun and bond. These bonding exercises help strengthen teams, helps employees understand how the others work and think, and can lend itself to better workers. 

The main purpose behind team building is to help create the positive company culture that makes everyone feel included and secure in their job. While sometimes it can seem that team building activities are silly or a waste of time, the reality is that organizations that don’t make room for fun exercises to help employees connect will suffer. These activities can be simple and don’t have to be too time consuming or expensive, but can be a huge step forward in creating the kind of workplace where people thrive, where teamwork and team member interactions abound, and more.

Office workers high fiving | team building activities

What are the benefits of team building?

When the right kind of team building is encouraged in an organization, the entire team benefits. A strong team leader who is either currently a manager, or working toward a management degree so they can become a manager, should implement team building to help their organization thrive.

Company morale is just one of the things that benefits from team building. When team members feel there is a fun activity they can look forward to, they’re excited to come to work. Additionally, team building activities help team members make friendships, which are vital for them to feel excited and happy about their job. When employees have friends, and feel like they know the other people they work with and can have fun with them, morale improves considerably.

It’s important for everyone within an organization to feel like they can trust their colleagues. Employees need to feel they can trust other employees and their managers. Team building activities help establish and build trust, and foster teamwork between all kinds of team members. Even though they are just games, these activities can provide an opportunity for employees to exercise trust in a low-risk situation. Then, when trust is needed in a higher-risk situation like on a project, employees can feel they already have a trusting relationship. 

Another key benefit of team building activities is improving communication in your team. Team building activities are fun ways to help colleagues understand each other and how the others around them work and communicate. This will directly translate to the next project or assignment. As employees work in fun settings to learn how they communicate, they’ll be able to improve their communication styles in the future on projects.

Organizations that utilize team building activities see increased collaboration for work-related projects. These kinds of activities help push employees out of the comfort zone, making them get to know other team members they may not normally work with. When this happens in a fun activity, it can then turn into collaboration on a project down the road.

Increased creativity is another huge benefit that comes from team building activities. Problem solving games and activities utilize different strengths and skills from team members. This gets creativity flowing for employees and teams, which can later translate to a project that requires problem solving and creativity as well.

Employees are likely to increase their motivation when fun team building activities happen often at work. Fun social activities give employees something to look forward to as part of their day-to-day office routine. There's also the added motivation of doing a job well or working to complete a project so you can have a fun activity as a reward. Employees thrive when they feel motivated by activities that they find fun and appealing.

All of these benefits of team building will culminate in improved productivity around the office. When trust and good communication abound in an organization, productivity naturally follows. If you’re hoping to increase the productivity around your office, a great place to start is with team building exercises.

Team building exercises.

The following are some ideas for managers to try out for their next team building activity.

Games.

  • Reverse charades. This game will test the communication skills of your employees. The game is played when a group acts out a charade for an individual person. This encourages the group to work together to come up with a good way to help the individual guess correctly.

  • Human knot. This is a very fun game that will encourage people to communicate, and will help people forge trust with each other. The game tangles you up by requiring you to grab hands or shoulders of different people, and your goal is to get untangled. Often in this game someone will come out as a natural leader to help direct the group, which is valuable for management to observe. 

  • What’s on my desk. This fun game requires a list of items that may be on a desk, and employees rush to grab the item from their desk if they have it. This is fun, can help everyone laugh and relax, and is a great way for people to get to know each other based on the kinds of things they keep in their desk. 

  • The egg drop. This will encourage creativity, and a little friendly competition among employees. Employees are given a raw egg and materials and instructed to create a contraption that will protect the egg when it’s dropped from above. Teams can do this or individuals, either way there is creativity and problem solving needed for this activity. 

Larger activities.

  • An escape room. This is a game that would likely need to be booked in advanced using office budget. Many cities have “escape rooms” that give you clues as you try to crack a code and get out. Teams have to work together, communicate, and find a good rhythm with each other in order to solve the clues. This helps them know how to solve similar problems in the workplace. 

  • Outdoor scavenger hunt. This kind of team building activity can help specific teams work together to compete. This is a great opportunity for increased communication, and will help draw out natural leaders. A scavenger hunt also helps employees get away from the office and can just give them a chance to chat and hang out outside of the office, even for a little while.

  • Go-kart. Team bonding can happen in the form of friendly competition as well. Something like a go-kart race can help teams have a fun, relaxed, and exhilarating time all together as a group. Employees encourage each other and can enjoy spending time together outside of the office, not focusing on work. Make sure your employees are all comfortable with this kind of activity, and that it won't leave anyone out.

  • Skits. A fun skit using a bag of items, a single product that your group has to market or use to create an invention, or a lip sync competition are all fun ways to get your employees to come together. These skits can create fun memories, make everyone laugh, and give everyone the opportunity to work together.

Office workers playing a game

Icebreaker activities.

  • Two truths and a lie. This activity helps employees share fun and interesting facts about themselves. Employees have fun guessing what facts are true and which are false about a person, and may be surprised about what things they don’t know about their colleagues. This kind of game gives employees things to talk about in the future when they remember fun little facts about each other.

  • Speed dating. This isn’t really about dating, but sitting across from someone and chatting for only one minute helps employees get to know each other and find out what they have in common. This is a great idea when new teams are being formed and lots of employees don’t know each other. New hires, large groups, and other teams that don't normally work together can utilize this kind of activity. The time limit forces team members to get to know each other quickly.

  • What’s my name. In this game, everyone has a famous name on their forehead and they go around asking questions, trying to figure out whose name is on their forehead. This helps employees get to know people they may not normally approach. Team building activities like this helps break the ice, and give employees interactions they can rely on when talking to their colleagues in the future.

If you’re on your way to earning a managerial or leadership degree, it’s important to understand that management is all about fostering workplace growth, innovation, and a positive company culture. Team building activities can help you create this great environment for management and employees alike.

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