Team building can be understood as one of the oldest activities humanity has undertaken, in which we learn to cooperate and work together more effectively and efficiently. In the modern world, this has changed from its origins in hunting and farming to the fast-paced, digitized corporate world. However, team building is still a critical element to a successful business or project, and finding ways to enhance and improve how your team interacts with each other should never be overlooked.
What is Team Building?
At its heart and given the proper conditions, team building happens naturally and intuitively within our species. Given adverse conditions and the need for food or shelter, mankind will instinctually form itself into teams, groups, or tribes. However, these were often plagued by leadership issues or other forms of tension within the group.
In the modern-day, the question is this: how can we take the team building instinct and refine it to work more efficiently in a way that will work in the lightning-fast world of business today? Is there a way to harness this instinct and with it create a synergistic effect in which the team will become greater than the sum of its parts?
The answer to these questions is yes, it is possible. However, there are many variables, such as:
The personalities of the team members will have a profound effect on the amount of team building you can do. Selecting the right team initially in the hiring process is critical.
If you have a group of people motivated by something greater than themselves or something they are passionate about, your team building will go more smoothly. On the other hand, if you’re trying to create a team somewhere that is not conducive to one forming naturally, like a big-box retailer store with constant staff turnover, you’ll have to get more creative.
The Common Denominator
What is it that brings your group together? Some of the strongest teams in history have been those facing adverse conditions like subjugation or colonial rule. Obviously, these conditions are impossible and undesirable in the workplace, but what lessons can you learn from how these groups practiced different methods of in-group control and cohesion?
Types of Team Building
When it comes to team building activities or exercises, there is a hugely variable range to choose from. Many jobs go with a low-cost elementary game of icebreakers, while some forgo it entirely. On the other hand, some businesses that require a totally dedicated and unified team go all out and host huge team building events featuring chefs and cooking classes, cocktails, escape rooms, magic shows, or any other activity you could think of.
At the end of the day, a team building activity can be anything that facilitates closer and more effective group communication. To do that, it’s necessary to get people out of their comfort zone, which is why things like paintball or karaoke make great choices.
If you’re going to try and plan your own team building activity, there are three aspects to consider:
Will the event help your team communicate better? Try and plan an event with lots of talking, required interaction, and little downtime for awkward silences.
Does the event build trust between team members? Anything requiring them to rely on each other will help with this goal.
Does this event give your team a way to practice adapting to different situations together? Try and give them a way to solve problems or puzzles to practice overcoming obstacles as a group, as this is a critical skill in the business world.
Most of the team building we have been discussing has been a form of activity-based team building. You can take this starting point and focus it on a skill-based team building exercise if you feel that there is a particular skill that the group needs to work on. On the other hand, just hosting a nice dinner for a team with no agenda can be the best method of all to build a team sometimes.
Why We Need Teams
The key idea here is that humanity will never make it without teams. Unfortunately, a lot of this is simply fate and luck – who happened to end up in your team when they did, due to variables like the available selection of applicants or hiring requirements from higher up. All we can do is do the best with what we have to work with, and team building activities are a way to make sure that your team is performing at its highest level.
When we work together, extraordinary things are possible. This has been shown over and over again, and your business can benefit from this truth too, in the form of higher employee morale and cohesion leading to higher productivity, efficiency, and revenue.