Team building is a process that develops cooperation and teamwork within a work unit. To constitute an effective team, its members must share a common goal, have respect for each other, and be motivated to use the strengths of each member to achieve their objectives. Current corporate philosophy stresses that each member of a team plays an integral part in the success of the company.
With understaffing, burnout, outsourcing, and other morale-defeating activities on the rise, many corporations realize they must nurture communication within the organization. In addition, many businesses form teams, or committees, for varying purposes; therefore individuals can be members of several teams. For an effective team, time should be established for getting acquainted and the exchange of ideas. From the employee's point of view, being part of a team usually provides a sense of loyalty and ownership.
Through activities known as team building exercises, individuals can practice brainstorming, collaboration, creativity, trust, and feedback. Most of these activities focus on areas such as problem solving, organizational development, and conflict resolution. Participants can also develop leadership, interpersonal, presentation, and negotiation skills.
Many activities, both inside and outside of the workplace, fall under the broad category of team building exercises. Common activities include ropes courses, culinary school, or a field day of team games and exercises. Other light-hearted activities include radio-controlled car racing and scavenger hunts.
Team building events also include a company's celebrations around holidays. Whether it's a Halloween costume contest or a St. Patrick's Day feast, companies can start or continue traditions that employees look forward to and become involved in. Other activities can include sporting events, potluck meals, team t-shirts, or company drawings for prizes.
When planning or choosing a team building event, try to plan the event at an off-site location. Be prepared for the session by bringing items you will need. Be flexible and have a back-up plan in case you encounter hurdles. Use appropriate safety measures as needed.
Remember to involve all parties and anticipate opposition and blunders. Because individuals learn differently, incorporate components for those who learn through sight, sound, and touch. Encourage participants to go with the flow, even when the plan deviates. Allow time for thought and reflection, but end the event promptly.
To be effective, team building exercises need to have follow-up activities, or the sense of collaboration and creativity is lost. Companies exist that plan and produce team building activities for businesses and organizations.