There are lots of reasons why building a really great team within your small business should be an essential part of your overall business strategy. Effective team building exercises and activities that help your employees get to know each other better can only improve communication within your company and help get coworkers on the same page, providing for better collaboration of goals and strategies. Building team relationships motivates employees to perform at their best and increases workplace productivity. Team building can help everyone involved recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their team members. This awareness provides value to the team and allows members to help each other out in weaker areas and to excel and feel pride for the areas where they excel.
But have you ever wondered how some work teams seem to function like a well-equipped machine, with the members of these groups working together towards a common, shared goal with minimal conflict? These work groups have clearly found out the importance of team building and have obviously invested their time and resources into the practice of team building.
Here are four no-fail Team Building strategies designed to encourage your employees to work together towards a common goal and to build trust within the team. Most exercises can be modified to use with teams of varying sizes, age groups and demographics and they do not have to be expensive to implement. The important point to remember is to choose an activity that involves a lot of communication and interaction between team members.
Team Building Strategy 1: Communication exercises, which allow members to improve their personal interactions with each other. Everyone has a different communication style and learning how best to interact with coworkers improvements communication and reduces unproductive conflict. An effective small group team building exercise is Minefield. In this activity, team members are split into pairs with one member blind-folded. The other team member then tries to verbally maneuver the blind-folded person through a series of "minefields"; use balls, pylons or bowling pins to set up a small course to maneuver through. After the first team member has made it through, switch so the other person gets a turn to traverse the minefield. This exercise is very effective at improving one on one communication and helps to build trust.
Team Building Strategy 2: Trust exercises, which encourage trust between team members. A good trust building exercise is the Slice and Dice in which the team forms two lines facing each other with their arms out in front of them, forming a corridor of intersecting arms. Team members then run through the corridor, trusting their coworkers to raise and lower their arms as they pass through. Start with the person walking and them progress to running through the corridor as the group's confidence and trust builds.
Team Building Strategy 3: Problem Solving, which presents a complex dilemma to the team that requires the members to use decision making skills to come up with a creative solution. Causes and Solutions is an effective problem solving exercise that can be used in groups of 2-5 people. Have these small groups go through a newspaper and choose a conflict or dispute. Then have the group identify lists of possible causes and solutions to this argument. The causes and solutions can be as realistic or as obscure as the group wishes, as long as the team is openly communicating and being respectful to all group members input.
Team Building Strategy 4: Planning exercises which highlight the importance of team planning before implementing a decision. A popular planning exercise is Pipeline. Give each team member in this exercise a length of half pipe or gutter. The team must then figure out how to transport a marble or small ball from one point to another using only the half pipes. Modify this exercise according to the group's ability by adding obstacles and making the starting and ending points closer together or further apart. The Pipeline not only involves planning, but also incorporates communications and problem solving aspects.
Team building exercises are vital to building the functional, goal oriented teams that your business needs to succeed. These four strategies encourage your employees to interact on a personal level which will lead to a more enjoyable work environment. Try a quick team building exercise at ancoming staff meeting, or even on a coffee break, to see the difference team building can make in the daily work environment.
Source by Kathy Legg