How to get your team in good shape
Reading Time: 5 minutes
7 ways to strengthen team collaboration and partnership synergy.
One important element of strengthening your team and improving productivity is to break down barriers and assist the team to get to know each other better. Especially when the team is newly formed or a new member has joined. Team building exercises ease new colleagues into the group gently, and help to generally bring the members together, make them understand each other’s point of view, and increase inter-group effectiveness. You can lead by example and share what you hope the group will achieve, along with some personal information about yourself such as valuable lessons that you’ve learned.
Team building comprises of various types of activities to enhance interpersonal and social relations. It is different from team training which is designed to improve efficiency. Fun is an important component of team building even though the intent of the activity is to become more focused, aligned and ultimately productive.
Simple team strengthening exercises in the workplace could consist of:
1 Celebrate each other.
This could be an informal lunch for somebody’s birthday, passed exams or qualifications, a job well done, or a project completed well ahead of the deadline.
2 Team slogan or motto.
Discuss and nominate an inspirational team slogan (such as “A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle”). Or have a different quote or slogan on display each month.
3 Mini office makeover.
Sometimes, a few changes to the environment can work miracles, and you don’t require a big budget to achieve it. The team can work together and come up with a list of things that could do with an overhaul, such as additional pot plants, laminated inspirational pictures, swapping desks, etc.
4 Play team games.
It could be as simple as finishing off a regular team meeting with 15 minutes of a card or board game a team member brought along. Or ask your team tHoo build a poker tower (distribute a pack of poker cards and a pair of scissors to each group of 2-5 members. Instruct them to build the tallest poker tower using only the cards and scissors given to them). Or play the human knot (stand in a close circle, all put their right hand in the air and grab the hand of somebody across, then do the same with the left, then have fun untangling). There are so many of these games out there – check out the web!
5 Outdoor activity.
Sport activities are not everybody’s cup of tea. However, going outdoors is an effective way to engage the team and they do not need to be expensive. Things like a Golf Driving Range, flying kites, play lawn bowls or croquet, do an egg race, or even play with the good old Frisbee are fun for people of all capabilities. Or you could simply hold your next team meeting in a park!
6 Indoor activity.
There are a ton of indoor activities on offer. You can take your team for a cooking class, a crafts workshop, hold a talent show, bust out of an escape room, play a round of pool, attend a music or dance class, volunteer at a charity or café for homeless people, hula hoop, or visit a museum or art gallery. There is such a variety of indoor activities that I have not even scratched the surface!
7 Recognition gifts.
These small presents are an easy way to spread fun and team spirit amongst the group. Have a box ready with items such as cheap sunglasses as a gift for somebody that had a bright idea, or a Gumby figure for somebody that has shown flexibility, or a rubber ball for a person that has bounced back from a challenge. They demonstrate a sense of positivity and create a desirable work culture. Come up with items that have their own meanings behind them.
One good way of improving group dynamics is to simply ask the team. The individual team members can request feedback about themselves, for example:
- What strengths do I bring to the team? (Name three)
- When am I most useful to the team? (Identify a situation or interaction)
- How could I better contribute to the team? (Describe an observable behaviour)
- What are your hopes for me in relation to the team? (Meaningful contribution)
- Our team’s job is to:
- We are successful when (describe results or interactions):
- Our team would be better if (describe in behavioural terms):
- I’m uncomfortable discussing (point out the elephant in the room):
- I am proud when:
Performance indicators show that effective teams will almost always outperform people working individually, particularly in high-pressure situations or when multiple skillsets are needed. Strengthening your team isn’t something that can be achieved in a short time and then forgotten. So ask yourself: how strong is your team, and is it time for action?
“Dare to make a difference!”
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