What is a team in an office? It is a group of individuals who have come to work in one place. They are all different, have different backgrounds and can be of a very different age. This means that they might not work well together at the beginning. And in a situation like this, any good manager is going to start developing a team building plan — a series of activities aimed at making the people in your office work together like a well-oiled mechanism.
And how you, as a manager, can create a perfect plan, execute it without taking too much of your employees’ time and bring your workers closer together? These are the questions that we have to find the answers to today.
Let’s start with the basics.
What are the main goals of team building?
Of course, the primary point that comes to mind is making individual employees into a team. After all it is in the name right there. But there are several other things that it can help you with.
1. Getting to know each other
No team can be comfortable and efficient if they do not know each other. Working together, of course, calls for some personal bonding, but if left alone it might take a lot of time. Team building exercises are going to speed the process up. This will significantly decrease the time spent making bonds, increasing the efficiency as a result.
2. Increasing overall morale
It is a direct result of the first point. Knowing who you work next to 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week is going to really relax the employees in your office, making it easier for them to do their job. Right team building exercises are going to do wonders for the morale around your office.
3. Bringing employees’ abilities to light
Team building activities can also be aimed at exposing hidden talents and skills. Someone might be good at drawing, someone might have an excellent memory and someone might be the fastest decision maker. These are the qualities which are not necessarily going to be known to you as a manager or the rest of the team. Seeing them in action is going to make you understand the skills of each individual member better, letting you take a full advantage of them.
4. Having fun
There are just a few things that bring people closer as good as having fun. Having a laugh and creating memories that will last them a lifetime together — this is the real team building right there.
As you can see team building can really help you create a friendly and pleasant atmosphere around the office as well as start forming a bond between the employees.
But before starting to build a bonding strategy which is going to work for your employees, you need to know the different types of team building.
Types of team building
Team building is usually separated in two major groups that, in their turn, separate into four points each.
Size of the teams (individuals, small teams, team islands and large teams) and what the activities are going to be based around (activity-, skill-, value-based, team-bonding)
Let’s start with the sizes.
Your main goal here is developing and changing the skills of the individual worker to be better suited for their job within the team, the composition of which may be constantly changing. In the long run this is going to ensure that an individual worker is going to be suited for any team, no matter who is working with them.
- Small teams
In this case, teams usually consist of 2-10 people. The main goal of this activity is to set a certain dynamic benchmark — remember this feeling of being one of the group and try to bring it everywhere with you. Here it is also good to exchange members of different teams from time to time, to show how the dynamic might change depending on who leaves and who comes.
- Team Islands
This activity is slightly different from the ones described above. The main goal here is to make different teams work together in order to know how to understand, respect and help the people from the other groups, no matter what their objectives and tasks might be.
- Large teams
This is a company-scale activity. It is not even an activity per se, rather than a process of forming and changing attitudes towards one another on a company level. If you, as a manager, are able to conduct this one right, your office and your company are always going to function efficiently no matter the changes in personnel.
Now on to the form of activities!
- ⚽ Activity-based
There are two types of possible activities here. Physical and intellectual. No matter what you choose: running and jumping or thinking and creating, the members of your team are going to work together to achieve a common goal.
- 🤔 Skill-based
If you want your employees to develop and improve their skills which they might further use in their workflow, then this is the best choice for you. This type of team building activities can help you, as well as your workers, to detect and implement the skills needed in the future workflow.
- 👑 Value-based
Activities of this type are aimed at increasing the morale of your team. Successful value-based team building ends with the participants feeling fulfilled and knowing their own value. Retaining this feeling for future work is going to help them understand their strengths and implement their best qualities into their work.
- 🤝 Team bonding
While all the above-mentioned works, nothing can beat good-old human interaction. Allow the members of the team to relax and talk. Let them exchange life stories or some anecdotes. We have already talked about it — the better they know the people next to them, the better their performance and their morale is going to be.
One of the main grounds for successful team building is understanding what type of activity you need and what type of activity is going to get the best response from your workers.
And now lets move on to the most important and interesting part.
Games that SUPers play
At SupportYourApp the team-building activities take place on demand. They can be repeated as often as needed. But, of course, the most frequent reason for it are the new members, joining in.
So, how do we do it?
Well, our Delivery Managers have a whole system that allows our consultants find out more about their coworkers. But here we should point out that we do not exactly play a lot of games. Our process focuses more on building personal relationships between the members of the team, making sure that all of them feel like they are working beside a very good friend. This in its turn develops a very good sense of shoulder and support.
1. 🖼️ Pictionary
Understanding your workmates without words. This is the dream of every manager. And playing pictionary is going to help your team develop such a skill.
You will need: a whiteboard and a marker.
A selected player from each group makes a drawing of a word that was whispered in their ear by their manager. The other members of the team are trying to guess what the word is in a limited amount of time. The team that guesses first, wins.
- there is no need to be a great artist to enjoy playing pictionary;
- If you are the manager try to come up with abstract words which are going to be hard to draw like ‘magic’ or ‘destiny’.
2. 🎭 Mimes
You will need: nothing
The premise here is the same as in pictionary. A manager whispers a word and selected players have to play out this word with their body. No talking allowed. The team that guesses first, wins.
Tips: if you are the manager, try to come up with abstract words which are going to be hard to show without words like ‘magnetic field’ or ‘green-house effect’.
3. ❓“Why is your name — your name?”
You will need: an urge to learn more about the people around you.
A weird question to ask, isn’t it? Well, turns out that some people have fascinating stories behind their names. Learning them is going to give everyone participating a very good insight into others. Learning something that extraordinary about your coworkers is bound to create a bond between them.
Tips: try to encourage the participants to remember the answers and then tell the stories back. This will make sure that everyone remembers them well.
4. 🖌 Describe yourself
You will need: fast thinking coworkers.
No, it is not as easy as it sounds. The person talking is supposed to try to describe themselves in just 3 words. Talk about thinking fast and talking precise, huh?
What can this give to your team? Well with limited words, people are going to choose either their main or their most unusual qualities in order to bring an element of surprise. Surely, other players are bound to learn something interesting and bond as a result of this experience.
Tips: ask those answering why they choose these exact words. Elaborating will allow them to dig deeper into their personality and open up to their colleagues
Overall SUP managers prefer informal games that will bond people personally and not professionally. They take teams out to go bowling, board games and just chat. After that productivity and team spirit are elevated and teams start being more efficient.
Team building with interesting questions, rather than with games, might not be the most standard approach to the task. But it for sure works for SupportYourApp. People form friendships and bonds that will last them a lifetime. And isn’t that the most beautiful thing? Surely, when you have a good friend by your side, your workflow goes smoother and the atmosphere in the office becomes better.