Successful Team Building

Guidelines For Effective & Successful Team Building

Successful Team Building is a method for developing teamwork, cooperation, and understanding within a work group. A team is a group working towards achieving a common goal. Due to numerous reasons such as a lack of understanding between individuals, different personal working and learning methods, and organizational hierarchies, the group of people that makes up the staff of a workplace, might not necessarily make a team. As people grow older, our ideas about the world and people become more rigid; we become less accepting of differing views and opinions. The purpose of Successful Team Building is to overcome these barriers by building trust, enabling understanding, and encouraging cooperation between workers. If team building is something you’re looking to do during your group retreat, it is something that must be planned out when you are trying to figure out how to plan a meeting.

Successful Team building exercises can be a powerful way to bring a group together, address individual weaknesses and strained relationships, and to develop strengths. This can only be achieved if the exercises are planned, structured, and carried out purposefully. Activities need to have clear objectives and a purpose: a group outing of paint-ball might be a fun day and further develop the bond between some of your workforce, but it won’t necessarily to a stronger business team. Team bonding is not always effective team building. By having clear objectives and a forehand knowledge of what traits your activity will develop, a facilitator will be able to focus a team’s efforts and learning.

A relaxed outside environment and a facilitator for team building is essential for building bonds between team members and providing a framework for the results of the group activities. In successful team building, the traditional work roles of bosses, managers, and subordinates should be set aside to build stronger bonds and understanding within the team. By taking the team out of the work environment, into a more casual setting like a resort, the true personalities of team members will emerge. The idea is to take people away form their office environment and hierarchies. The team building facilitator should clearly define the objectives of an activity, raise reflective questions about the activity during its course to help guide teams, and then to debrief the teams, recapping what happened in the event and what was learned. The debriefing can be done formally or though open ended questions to encourage the personal reflections of the participants.

An example of one classic team building exercise is the Minefield. The purpose of the exercise is to encourage effective communication, promote teamwork, and to build trust. In a large room or field, a ‘mine field’ is set up using cones, boxes, chairs or other obstacles that can trip someone up (without causing injury). Enough space should be places between the mines so participants are able to walk though.

Your group is then divided into pairs. By assessing your team before hand, you can pair people who may have difficulty cooperating or who have trust issues together, in order to get the most out of the exercise.

One person is blind folded and they will walk through the mine field: this person is not allowed to talk. Their partner will stay outside the field and guide the blindfolded walker though the field though verbal directions.

Partners should be allows a minute to discuss how they’ll guide each other though and to formulate a strategy. There should be a consequence for hitting mines such as both members needed to repeat the course. Afterwards, the facilitator should discuss with the groups how they felt, if the trust of their partner was gained, and to have the group evaluate their success. The activities can also be modified for different objectives (ex. a group of guiders or a chain of mine walkers can change the dynamic of the activity for instance).

There are numerous successful team building activities that have specific goal driven objectives. The outcome of these events is less important that the process. It doesn’t matter if the teams are successful in achieving the goals of the tasks, but what they learn though trying to achieve their goals. Ultimately, the goal is for participants to understand and experience how other people work and think. Doing so will help them believe in each other’s abilities and help them to work together. Try including effective team building activities when you are deciding how to plan a meeting and retreat for next time.