6 Innovative Activities That Can Boost Team Building

— April 21, 2017

It’s no doubt that teams work miracles when they really know each other. Having strong synergy and a deeper understanding of each other’s motivators can transform groups of people into high-performing teams. Over the years I’ve worked with several teams and helped them understand and accept the power of disclosure. Once that’s established, I engage them in activities that facilitate their ability to achieve even more success, enabled by their realignment and cohesiveness.

Here are some activities that you can engage your teams with to produce similar results.

1. Hard Talk

I often use the Hard Talk activity to expose the leader of a team to hard hitting questions. To make this a success, start with the toughest questions first. These questions are what everyone wants answers to, are often heard around the office as gossip and are the most perplexing ones for team members. I’ve found Hard Talk to be the most impactful team building activity as the audience is gasping at my audacious questions. Of course, these are the questions that everyone is talking about but don’t have the courage to ever put up with their boss. So I ask on their behalf and keep probing deeper with follow-up questions that force the boss to explain their decisions and address the concerns of many.

2. Speed Dating

This noninvasive activity is a great fun way to kick-start discussions about personal relationships. In speed dating, team members are asked a number of questions that they have to answer. The answers, not surprisingly, reveal many important personality traits about the person, allowing the audience to better understand and appreciate them. Here are some of them:

  • What’re you most passionate about?
  • What’s your dream job?
  • Describe yourself in the words of your best friend.
  • If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  • What’s the most reckless (or embarrassing) thing you’ve ever done?
  • What makes you happy, sad and angry?
  • Who would be your ideal person to have dinner with, either dead or alive?
  • If you were stranded on a desert island, would you take with you?

3. Mask Exercise

We all wear masks, in some form or the other, to cloak our true expressions and personality. This activity taps into our personal masks and reveals our truth. Participants are asked to draw one of the masks they normally wear. These can include their dreams, interests, characteristics, weaknesses, fears or their strengths. The idea is to draw out a mask that explains your personality to your team members in a non-threatening manner. Then each team member shares their mask with their team who ask questions for them to clarify and explain characteristics about their masks. This exercise is brilliant at helping people search deeper into themselves and break open a generally reserved and closed group.

4. Hot Seat

Because of its candid nature, this activity can only be undertaken once a team has displayed high levels of trust. In it, a team member is asked to sit on the ‘hot seat’ while others provide their feedback to the person on the hot seat by completing these statements:

  • I would like to thank you for….
  • I think you can significantly improve your performance if you…

5. Personality Tests

Tests like Belbin and MBTI are a great way to get insight on team members’ personality type and preferred styles. They’re non-intrusive, so people tend to be open and honest about themselves. However, to really get the most out of this activity you’ll need to allow the team some gestation time.

6. Life Line

Similar to the mask exercise, this activity requires team members to share their ‘life-line’ and those events from their past that have shaped them today. Among the other activities I’ve mentioned, this one in particular is challenging as it necessitates deeper self-examination from team members. People may have experienced traumatic past events that they refrain from thinking about, and by far, would feel comfortable sharing with their colleagues.

Irrespective of which activity you choose to engage your team with the results will benefit team members to understand and know each other better. With a deeper understanding and respect for each other teams can then move to the next level of trust and relationship building. Once you’ve extracted this from these team building activities, you’ll be able to create a high-performing, cohesive and accountable team.

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Author: Paul Keijzer

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