How To Encourage Team Building In The Workplace
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As we know, team building is an integral part of any successful organization. Whether it’s organizing a group activity or developing relationships within your department, team-building exercises are great tools for improving communication skills, fostering trust, and promoting overall employee happiness.
Research shows that groups with high levels of cohesion perform better than those who don’t. At the same time, studies indicate that employees feel more connected to their colleagues after engaging in some type of team-building event.
Given this, I would like to suggest several ways you can organize a team-building day or event at work. If you're already doing some types of events, you may be able to add onto them or take things one step further.
We'll also discuss how to motivate individuals during such activities so they will contribute their efforts. On top of that, we'll talk about what kind of events are most effective for workplace collaborations.
Let employees be themselves
As mentioned earlier, team building exercises should not focus too much on having fun as the goal. Rather, they should aim to create meaningful connections or conversations that help you come together as a team.
This is important because teamwork is a fundamental part of business. If one person does not feel like his or her voice is heard, then no one feels included and invested in the organization’s success.
Teamwork is also an essential ingredient for productivity and efficiency. The more people work together, the easier it becomes to have a second-by-second exchange of ideas and tasks.
When someone on your team goes out of their way to make you feel good, this can promote trust between you. It creates a feeling of safety when things are going well and encourages them to do the same for other members of the team.
How to encourage group interaction
Give credit to others when they go above and beyond. A simple compliment can inspire someone else to try harder next time.
Ask open-ended questions instead of just asking “how was the game?” This gives participants room to talk about what matters to them.
Hold brainstorming meetings where everyone contributes without fear of being judged. Use index cards and take notes so you don't forget anything said.
Host events such as movie nights, potlucks, or holiday parties outside of work to expose colleagues to each other.
Challenge team members with each other
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important things leadership does is challenge teams. Leaders create an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions and bringing up issues that may not be easy, but can really help improve teamwork and communication.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing for only those at the office, however. When a group of individuals work together outside the workplace, their performance can suffer due to different commitments they have.
If a friend asks you to do something this weekend, chances are you will agree, even if it means no party. If a colleague requests your input or advice, you may need to say “no” because you already gave yours weeks ago. This could hurt someone’s feelings, which usually doesn’t bode well for success.
Encouraging team building at the workplace includes having conversations about things that may make some people uncomfortable, so that they can come out more relaxed and focused in the rest of their lives.
Hold team-focused events
Running an event at your workplace is a great way to promote teamwork and group cohesion. It does not need to be a formal gathering with speakers and discussions; anything that encourages collaboration, communication, or fun can be considered a team building activity.
Facilitators of a workshop will often invite participants into small groups after the event to discuss what they learned and any questions they had.
You may also notice some people organizing their own separate conversations outside the groups or individuals who organized the event. This is usually due to someone listening more intently than before the event and realizing something new about another person or the organization.
By having these informal conversations, you’ll learn lots of things about your colleagues and the company.
Create a fun workplace
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to work for an organization that had just completed a nationwide search and hiring process. During my first week on the job, they announced we would be having our annual team event at a local water park within two weeks!
I learned later that this event has happened every year since the company started holding it. It’s really easy to forget how important employee engagement is when you have so many things going on.
By creating events like this one, your employees will feel more connected to their department and the company as a whole. This will motivate them to put in extra effort while also boosting morale.
Another way to create an engaging environment is by giving away free food or coupons for snacks or drinks at work. By incentivizing something people enjoy, they’ll want to keep coming back even if nothing special is happening.
Making changes to these types of activities can hurt feelings, but don’t worry about that until needed. If someone objects, let them know that you wanted to include everyone and invite only need to bring X amount of people.
Never make comments about differences in leadership styles, politics, etc unless you are asked directly. Letting loose products active discussions that could potentially become distractions.
Make it clear you appreciate their work
A few weeks ago, my colleagues and I had our annual team lunch together. It is an important event where we get to connect with each other and talk about what’s going on for everyone.
We typically hang out at a restaurant close to the office so people can choose whether or not to eat there before coming to ours. This year though, we decided to do something different – we met outside the building for a roundtable discussion.
The topic of the conversation was teamwork, and how to encourage it in the workplace. As always, some food helped fuel us!
After we sat down and got comfortable, one of my colleagues asked if anyone wanted to start. Almost immediately, another member raised his hand and said that he thought today would be a good time to discuss who will play in the company softball game next week. He explained why and then invited others to join in.
Ask your team for feedback
Asking about things such as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges can be good starting points when it comes to team building. These are not only helpful for individuals but also for groups of people.
By asking questions that relate to what others think and do, you can learn a lot about how to motivate them and make sure they feel appreciated and trusted.
Getting input is very important because no one really knows everyone else well. By gathering information from different sources, you can create an open dialogue and find new ways to motivate your team.
You could ask direct questions like “What are our biggest strengths?” or indirect ones like “How do you feel we can improve the department?”
The answers will vary so don't take these comments just at face value. Find out why each person gave their response and if there's anything they'd like to see changed next time around.
Seek their opinions
As mentioned earlier, team building is an excellent way to promote trust among colleagues. Ask questions that require no answers at first, such as how they would go about solving a problem or what tasks they could not complete without help from others.
By asking these questions, you will gain insights into your coworkers’ skills and potential weaknesses. This gives you a better understanding of who they are and can sometimes create conversations about things you never thought to ask before.
Team members may be able to tell if someone does not seem like they belong in the workplace by looking for clues such as whether there are too many empty desks around them and whether people appear to miss them when they are gone.
Conversations about challenges and opportunities can also give you some valuable information. If possible, try to have these with all members of your staff so that everyone has a chance to contribute.
Make plans together
As mentioned before, team building exercises are great ways to promote workplace diversity and overall productivity. What you should do is make it a rule that every employee has access to these events.
Holding lunch-time meetings or workshops with your colleagues can be something simple like going out for pizza or having an informal chat. Or you could organize a group activity such as taking part in a sports event or playing a board game.
These types of activities are not only fun, but they also strengthen relationships.