Team building as the name suggests, refers to a wide range of activities that are used by organizations to facilitate and improve a team’s relations and problem solving capabilities; team building can be very advantageous to an organization when done correctly as it increases a team’s efficiency and increases the organization’s productivity. Team building can be difficult to achieve as life teaches persons to strive for individual excellence rather than working for the good of a team; this is the first thing that team leaders have to overcome for a team to be successful and this is where team building exercises come in.
There are many team building games and activities that can be carried out to strengthen various areas of the team; team building games need to be fun or team members will not want to participate in them, so one way of ensuring that you choose the right games is to ask team members for their input on the games that they would like to play. You can invent games to suit the individual requirements of your team; however there are plenty of fun games that you can utilize. Here are a few of the games that you can use to strengthen various areas of weakness in team building:
To improve communication, try a back to back drawing game, where team members are divided into pairs and sit back to back; give one person a picture of a shape or simple object and give the other pencil and paper. The person holding the picture needs to give verbal instructions to his/her partner on how to draw the shape without revealing what the shape is; when the exercise is completed compare the original picture to the drawing to see how clear the instructions were and how well they were understood.
Another good team building exercise is to blindfold one team member and have another team member verbally guide him/her through a ‘minefield’ of obstacles.
A good exercise to get all team members communicating is to create a scenario where their airplane has just crashed in the ocean; there’s a desert island nearby, and there’s room on the lifeboat for every person – plus 12 items they’ll need to survive on the island. Instruct the team to choose which items they want to take and then discuss the items they chose and why.
Organizations will sometimes carry out weekly, monthly or quarterly team building exercises in hopes of improving team operations, however it is important to realize that team building must take place every day throughout the operations of the organization or it will not be successful; performing team building exercises once in a while is not enough to achieve the desired results, however planning big team building events does reinforce relations and improve interaction.
There are numerous websites online where you can get ideas for other fun team building activities; keep in mind however that the goal is to improve team relations so try and keep the activities competition-free and reward the efforts of the entire team rather than that of one or two persons.