The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Team Building is one of those activities that can be extremely fun but often the first emotion you’ll get is embarrassment! This can be because it is about breaking down the pre-concieved image a person has about themselves or others and finding out what their strengths and weaknesses really are. So, without further ado here are our top five team building ideas.
How well do you know your team?
The first thing to do with any team is break down a few walls, it’s so much easier to work together if you know each other. A quick and fun way is a simple game called Two Truths and a Lie, which allows the team to get to know each other and the lies that each person tells can be silly or outrageous. Nothing breaks the ice like a little humour.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to plan a weekend away for your employees, there are a couple of great team building exercises that can take place out of doors. Building a raft is a good one. Certain hotels or locations will have the equipment needed for this and if they do, use it! It allows people to work on their communication skills as well as showing who the natural leaders are in the group. It is also a healthy outdoors activity and can promote a sense of fun rivalry to bring in some camaraderie amongst people to take part of the activity, especially when they have to try and sail their raft to the other side of the water. I remember doing this activity many years ago, it was even more fun when my team was attacked by the “pirate ship” supervisors. There was no time to blame anyone, as a weak knot came undone, but we just bailed and paddled at the same time, laughing, and getting dunked anyway.
I think that one of the best ways to test any relationship is to give people a map and send them on a quest. Nothing will fray tempers quicker than a slight misreading, especially if there’s a time limit involved. This exercise will show who can keep a cool head under pressure, which group will manage to resolve or overcome disagreements and, of course, who has the best map reading skills.
Building a Tower
Improvisation and creative thinking are good traits that should be encouraged, though they need to be tied in with a healthy dose of practicality. Castles in the air may be beautiful to look at, but the first piece of furniture you put in them will fall straight through the floor! That’s why building activities are great for teams; it allows, dare I say it, thinking outside the box – especially if there is set criteria. For example, you could tell your team you need them to build the tallest tower that they can with the given materials… but that it also needs to be aesthetically pleasing and support three paper napkins without toppling over. Now you’ve got them thinking, planning and sharing their ideas – this will also help encourage debate and teach everyone to look for pros and cons in their own ideas.
Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust
One of the building blocks of a good team is trust. How can you talk to a supervisor if you don’t trust them? Bear in mind that doing the Trust Fall will probably violate today’s health and safety measures. An alternative to get your teams to build up trust in each other is the Broken Email game. It requires the players to be in close contact with each other. It’s good measure to check that everyone who will be playing this game is comfortable with the idea of someone touching their back and that all the players know what is and isn’t appropriate. The aim of the game is to transcribe a symbol down a chain of players by drawing the character or picture on their back with a finger. This requires concentration, good recall, and trust. The symbols can start easily, being a simple smiley face, then increase in detail as the game progresses. The first team to get the “email” correctly transcribed by the final link in their chain on to a piece of paper wins.
Got any other ideas for team building events? Get involved in the conversation in the comments box below.
About the Author
Vari Fisher has enjoyed helping out on both sides of team building, as both the trainee and the trainer, she finds its a great way to get more out of corporate events.