Team Building that Works
Motivated and enthusiastic employees are an asset to any business. If you can assemble a strong team then you will find that your business runs a lot more smoothly, and you will be better equipped to face the challenges of the current economy. The question is, how do you build a good team, and once you have it, how do you keep it motivated?
Team Building Exercises That Work
Team building is something that a lot of successful organizations focus on. They send their executives on leadership development retreats and send senior employees on team building trips. They often even have in-house team building days for their regular staff. These exercises are sometimes met with resistance from the employees. Many tired old ‘trust building’ exercises and games that are used by a lot of companies are not exactly fun, and they have been performed so many times that most people already know the “tricks”. You won’t build an ideal team by taking people away from their jobs for a day or two and having them go through the motions playing games they don’t enjoy.
There are, however, many team building exercises that can and do work. If you find a trainer, speaker, or organization that understands group dynamics, that trainer can engage with your employees in a such way that they stand to gain a lot. Instead of wasting time on superficial exercises, or forcing people to talk about things that they don’t want to talk about, they will present activities that are practical, useful, and that will help get your team working together more effectively and enthusiastically on their projects.
Personal Development Opportunities
One great way to boost team morale and focus is to offer team-based personal development. Good workshops and activities that are relevant to the jobs and skills of the people involved will do wonders for your team. Individuals get the chance to further hone their skills, they feel valued by the company, and they pick up skills and methods that they can apply workplace. Also, they get to do it with their colleagues, so they aren’t stuck networking by themselves, but sharing experiences with each other instead.
Team trips are a good opportunity to further the skills of your employees, too. Activities holidays will present your team members with challenges that they can work on together, and will give them a chance to relax without the typical stresses of work for a while.
To summarize one recent study conducted by the Human Dynamics Laboratory at MIT, the best teams are ones that make it a priority to effectively socialize on top of their workplace discussion. If your team members are able to communicate well on an informal basis, then they will do well at work when it really matters, too. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need people to be best-friends who hang out every weekend; a friendly environment will, however, help a lot. The more people feel like their colleagues are approachable human beings, the more considerate, proactive, and enthusiastic they will be. No-one wants to be thought of as just another cog in a machine.
Another important part of team building is recognizing the performance of those
who are doing well – but also recognizing that those star employees need the people around them too. Your highly skilled programmers may only be as good as they are because the guys in the QA department and the art department work so well with them. Take away their support, and their performance could slide.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize everyone who is doing a good job. That developer might have managed to finish the patch before the deadline, but how many other people committed changes, submitted bug reports, or produced assets that went into the patch? Thank each and every one of them, and make sure that they know that their contributions are invaluable.
This advice isn’t just for on-site workers, either. It applies to remote workers too. Remote workers often feel isolated, so taking the time to thank them individually is important.
Team building is an essential part of leadership. Invest in your team, and they will look after you and your company.
For fun team building activities that work, take a Scavenger Hunt with Strayboots. The author, Jonathan Leger, is a small business owner and personal development enthusiast. He also runs a popular question and answer website at AnswerThis.co.