Effective Team Building Activities Quick Guide
One of the most important activities a successful leader of a team does, particularly in the early stages of a team’s development, is help to build trust and relationships. In the context of team building, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good, and consequently, that there’s no reason to be protective or careful around the group. How does a leader build trust? Certainly, it takes time -- it requires shared experiences over time, multiple instances of credibility and follow through, and, an in-depth understanding of the unique attributes of team members. Ultimately, the team leader and members must get comfortable and get to know each other beyond a purely work-related context. However, by taking a few specific actions, a leader can help the team accelerate this process and achieve trust in a relatively short period of time. This Quick Guide provides some tips and exercises that you can use as a leader of a new group to: o build relationships and trust through personal and professional self-disclosure o increase self-awareness and awareness of each other’s strengths, blind spots, and unique contributions to the team
What you’ll find in this guide:
o o o How to run a successful team building activity Common challenges and what to do about them Outlines for 12 simple and effective “Getting to Know Each Other” type team building activities
Running a Successful Activity 1. Before: Prepare
Read through the activity several times. Make sure you’re clear about what will happen and when, why, and how. Obtain all the necessary materials. Check them to ensure they’ll work well for the activity. Set up the room, making sure tables, chairs, flipcharts, etc. are in place so they contribute to the activity’s success. Anticipate any potential problems and take steps to prevent them
3. After: Reinforce learning
Later, on the job, remind members of the activity. This could include bringing up something positive or personal that someone shared during the activity. Plan follow up “get to know you” activities that will reinforce, emphasize, and build upon what was learned at the time
2. During: Explain & check for understanding
________________________________________________ Common Challenges and What to Do About Them 1. People don’t want to participate
Welcome the team with enthusiasm and give a brief overview of the activity to get the team interested and excited. Share why you’re doing the activity. Explain the steps or rules – work from your notes or even post them on the wall. Address questions and distribute any materials after you’ve fully explained the activity. Make sure the team understands the activity – Ask “What questions do you have before we start?” and/or ask the team to summarize the steps (e.g “So, how many minutes do you have to complete this?”)
Be clear about the purpose of the activity Remind them that in order for it to be team building, everyone must participate. Reassure them that everyone will participate (and no one will be singled out and maybe embarrassed). If the activity allows, have the less shy people go first (or you go first) Speak slowly as you explain the activity; pause after each direction to let it sink in Repeat what may seem like the obvious Start over and repeat the directions. Ensure any difficult ones are put in context. Bring more than enough for all participants Test the activity with the materials you’ll be working with Reword questions only if someone says they didn’t understand; otherwise, pause (silently count to 10) after asking the question and give them time to think. Offer your own observation, then ask what others saw or felt that was similar or different from what you shared. As a last resort, call on someone by name to respond.
2. Unclear about directions
Run the activity
Encourage and support all....
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