5 Ways to Avoid Lame Team-Building Activities

graphic that says 5 ways to avoid lame team-building activities

Trust falls. Drum circles. Horse whispering. Purging ceremonies (whatever that is).

Let’s face it – team building has gotten a bad rap. At best, team building is associated with frivolous time off that doesn’t accomplish anything. At worst, it damages working relationships further by unearthing problems and resentments in an unhealthy, unconstructive way.

For years, misguided consultants have ruined the term “team building” for many managers and workers. Despite its reputation for being useless, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication and increases collaboration. Effective team building results in more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line.  How to avoid hosting lame team-building activities? Read these 5 tips:

  1. Establish ground rules – If you are doing more structured team-building activities, like working together to solve a hypothetical problem or trying to escape a locked room, you must establish rules of conduct. Respectful listening, mutual respect, don’t interrupt each other and basic courtesy all go a long way towards making the team building work.
  2. Don’t force the corporate agenda — Team-building activities that are heavy-handed in pushing practical takeaways are less powerful. Spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively.
  3. Think beyond the company picnic – Trying new things with your staff can generate good vibes among employees, which in turn benefits the business itself. Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways.
  4. It should be fun, not terrifying – Sure, you want to have a little adventure and get people to try something new, but learning can’t happen if people are filled with anxiety over the height of the zip line or getting pummeled with paintballs. Know your staff and choose your adventure thoughtfully.
  5. Keep it going — Most team-building falls flat because it’s one and done. All the good vides evaporate the next day at the office when it’s business as usual. The key is to find ways to keep the connection going. Create a series of informal events post-team building so that people can continue to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or presentations.

Read more about how we can help bring your teams together through team-building activities or a custom retreat built around a specific strategic goal.


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