High-performing teams don’t just happen. They require cultivation. The right people with the right skills, the right habits, good communication. And trust. Trust is one of the most important components to a well-functioning team. One way to grow it is through team-building exercises.
For some, the mere mention of team-building exercises elicits groans, eye rolls, and pessimism. But team-building exercises don’t have to be the same tired old ice-breakers, trust falls, or role-playing games. There are many different avenues to build trust—often at off-site venues.
Here are a few ideas:
Team Lunches. For ages, the idea of “breaking bread” together has signified a bonding experience. And while leaders don’t need to cling to the archaic terminology, they can recognize the benefits of frequent company-sponsored team lunches. From something simple like boxed lunch in the park to something whimsical like tracking down a food truck to something more refined like a sit-down meal at a restaurant, regular team lunches can become anticipated events that both build team and trust.
Volunteer Opportunities. Teams that regularly volunteer together often find it to be a great bonding time. Sharing a goal to help others helps teams learn how to focus on shared work goals and gives employees a sense of pride and value. Choices include participating in fundraisers, volunteering at a food bank, or participating in a yearly 5K for charity.
Creativity Outings. Many employees find avenues to new ideas and new ways of thinking and problem-solving through creative endeavors. Teams can engage in creativity-based events such as going to a nearby paint-and-sip, where employees can unleash their inner Monet to yield interesting results. Often, even when everyone follows the directions of a professional artist/teacher, the results vary, and team members can learn about each other from the diversity of the paintings. Plus, employees have a tangible output to take home as a reminder of the experience. Or better yet, teams can keep the art in the office area, either at individual team members’ desk areas or in a common area to serve as a metaphorical badge of teamwork.
Special Classes. It doesn’t all have to be off site. Companies can also sponsor on-site classes that are separate from any talent-development courses they already put on. Bring in a local artist or photographer to teach skills related to their art. Ask a professional writer to teach some creative-writing sessions—which could even improve communication among your team as well.
Exercise. Regular exercise can boost an individual’s overall health, energy, and fitness levels. It can also increase concentration and creativity. And incorporating a fitness routine into a team effort can efficiently enhance the team’s overall productivity and create a sense of bonding. Something as easy as lunchtime walks on the corporate grounds or something more intense like regular miles-long running sessions can bond teams more tightly. Or teams can take a dip into the world of CrossFit—many companies have found that teams that participate in the challenge of the high-intensity workouts have a greater sense of camaraderie; they bond over the shared experience of hard-earned accomplishment.
Other avenues for team- and trust-building are out there; their effectiveness depends only on what’s best for your team. And there’s no better time than the present to put something in place to realize more and more of your team’s potential. Good luck!