As a business owner, you have likely heard many times about the importance of having an effective team of employees. When your employees work together well, they help your business meet important deadlines and grow into the future. An effective way to create such a team is to utilize team-building strategies, but what exactly is team building, and how does it work?
At its most basic level, team building is planning activities for your employees to participate in that improve their connections with each other and identify and strengthen weaknesses present in the group. Often, team-building activities have clear goals in mind so that your team can focus on one issue at a time. It can be beneficial to cultivate these goals in employees. Consider passing out an anonymous survey asking your team about various teamwork topics and if there are any specific areas they would like to focus on. Once you have your team-building goals, you can move into planning team-building activities. Here are two examples:
- Strengthening interdependence—Trusting one’s team is an important part of working together effectively. To emphasize this interdependence in team-building activities, consider setting aside some time for trust exercises your team can participate in. Some options include: a blind obstacle course in which one team member must follow another team member’s voice and directions; a relay race in which team members must trust each other to fulfill their portion of the race; or, even a simple trust fall exercise that requires employees to count on their partner to catch them. Make sure to take appropriate safety measures before engaging in these activities.
- Strengthening communication skills—Choose a topic that sparks friendly debate and avoid controversial topics for this exercise. For example, ask your employees to determine, as a group, what ten items they would bring with them on a life raft if they were stranded in the ocean. Allow everyone the opportunity to defend their choices, and insist that the team discuss this topic until they all agree on a list of ten items. Debates like this, while not directly business-related, can help your team bond on a more personal level and can encourage healthy and lively discussions.
Team building should be an integral part of your business. Creating a teamwork-centered culture for your employees can help them work more effectively, strengthen their relationships, and provide them with a more welcoming work environment. Try to plan a short team-building activity at least once a month. It’s an ongoing process, but it is definitely worth your time.
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