Effective team building exercises might seem like mythical unicorns in your office. In case this is an area where you struggle, I might be able to help.
Why Team Building Exercises Don’t Work
If you’ve tried exercises and feel like they failed miserably, it’s time to take a look at the deeper dynamics between your employees. Ignoring real issues such as interpersonal dynamics will stunt any of your efforts toward creating greater harmony.
I mean, playing a game won’t magically repair working relationships that are broken or deeply divided over an issue. If the team building exercise seems pointless, it won’t work well either. Your employees don’t like to feel as if you are wasting their time.
Also, be careful about the game you choose. If it’s a competitive exercise, this might bring out the competitive streaks in some and alienate the others. This totally defeats the purpose of the team building exercise in the first place!
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!
Team building games do not need to be about “trust falls”. Make it fun!
Include everyone and let people be themselves. But, also make sure to explain the purpose of the game and let your office talk about it afterwards. What did they get out of it? What did they learn about their co-workers/teammates? How can they translate the team building exercise into their actual working relationships?
Working together always yields more productive results, but sometimes we need to practice.