Leading a team to success requires navigating personal and professional dynamics. You need to remember that, while you may be an important member of the team, the fact that you’re the leader doesn’t mean you’re the only member. Everyone else must be able to work together productively if your company is to succeed in the long run.
That’s why it can be a good idea to use team building exercises when new coworkers are getting to know one another. While this may sound like an outdated idea to some, that’s because many depictions of team building exercises rely on stereotypical examples, such as trust falls.
Not all team building exercises are that cheesy. There are in fact many unique ideas you can leverage to develop a greater sense of camaraderie among your employees. They include the following:
Being an effective team leader requires understanding what motivates your colleagues. While financial compensation is of course important, today’s job seekers report wanting to find jobs where they get a chance to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. Simply earning a paycheck isn’t enough. They want their work to have meaning.
Thus, you may want to organize a team building activity or project in which everyone volunteers together, or in some other capacity performs work for charity. If you can find a way to align the charity’s mission with your company’s goals and values, even better. This will help solidify your internal brand and boost engagement among team members.
It also gives colleagues an opportunity to get to know one another in a less formal setting. Because they’ll be doing meaningful work, they’ll all genuinely want to coordinate their efforts to do the best work they possibly can. This helps them build skills and relationships that can also be applied to their professional responsibilities.
Solve Riddles or Similar Complex Problems
Every team is different. The nature of the work your employees perform will of course depend on the nature of the industry. Hollywood producers don’t face the same challenges as engineers, after all. That said, virtually all teams will have to work together to solve problems at times. This can be a stressful situation if the stakes are high the first time this happens.
Knowing this, you might consider preparing them with a team building exercise (this is one you can repeat periodically if it continues to deliver results) that involves solving a riddle or similar complex problem. Again, if it’s related to your field, that’s ideal, as it gives your workers practical experience.
What’s most important is that they understand this isn’t a typical work task. No one is going to lose a client if they take a long time to come up with a solution. Instead, you want them to focus on working together. Developing these skills in a low-stakes situation helps teams be better-prepared when the stakes are high. If you’re interested in an even more unique twist on this idea, you might plan a team trip to an escape room.
Arrange an Office Scavenger Hunt
This is an idea that’s particularly worth considering if you’re managing a team of new employees, many of whom are still relatively unfamiliar with the office and workplace culture.
You’ll need to coordinate with the office manager and any other relevant decision-makers at the company if you plan on organizing an office scavenger hunt. However, if you get permission, you can allow the entire team to participate in the hunt together, or arrange them into smaller teams.
This will of course give them the chance to get to know one another while working together to solve a problem. It also gives them a reason to explore the office to a greater degree than they may yet have. Along with boosting trust and camaraderie among team members, this also helps to engage new employees with the workplace culture. You’re achieving two important leadership goals with a single activity.
These team building exercises are designed to help coworkers develop valuable skills. Just remember, an effective leader understands that work/life balance is essential. Your employees also need chances to participate in fun activities for their own sake.
However, that doesn’t mean they need to participate in those activities separately. Attending karaoke nights, organizing sports games, and generally having fun with each other can help team members develop professional relationships while also having a good time with no other practical goals.
Don’t dismiss the idea of the team building exercise. While some traditional approaches to team building may seem quaint now, you can still find ways to help your team members work together more effectively. These are simply a few examples worth considering.