Team building activities are a great way to build collaboration. They are a good idea to break away from the monotony of daily work. They also help to motivate the team and increase familiarity among the team members leading to better working conditions at the workplace. Team building games should be regularly organized for best results. The games or activities should blend fun with learning and any good business coach knows how valuable they can be. They also bring out the leadership qualities in the team members and over the time, you would know the strengths and weaknesses of all the members of your team.
The games can improve on various skills required while working in teams. These can be broadly classified into four types as given below.
1. Communication Team Building Games
Good communication forms the basis of teamwork. Here are a few games that can improve communication.
- From bad to good – In this game, divide the members into teams of two. Person A narrates a negative experience he has had previously. Person B narrates the same experience but mentions only the positive aspects, like what the learning was from the experience. Once this activity is done, A and B switch places.
- True or false – Every member writes two things about themselves. One is true, one is false. They read out what they have written and others vote which one they feel is true and which one is false. It’s a great icebreaker and a good way to get to know something about each other.
- The other side of the coin – Collect coins that are not older than the youngest member in a team (check the year on the coin). Put them in a jar, and let members pick up a coin at random. See the date on it and let that person narrate what special happened to them during that year.
2. Problem Solving Team Building Games
Problem solving is another important skill that needs some honing and a fresh perspective from time to time. Try the below games for working on this skill for your team.
- Problem tree – Divide the members into smaller teams of 3-4. Ask each team to write down a problem they see at their workplace. The problem should be a non-human problem, like a fault in the process or procedure used. Be careful that there shouldn’t be individual blaming. Then, ask the team to brainstorm and write down two things which lead to this problem below the actual problem statement. Once done, again, let the team put their heads together and come up with two things each for the causes of the problem. Help them break down the problem to smaller causes as far as they can go.
- Treasure hunt – Divide into 3-4-member teams. Give them clues to follow a trail leading to a hidden ‘treasure’. Solving clues to reach the ultimate goal is a great team building idea for teaching the importance of Problem solving.
- Paper castles – Give each team a paper of the same size and a pair of scissors and glue. The objective is to build the tallest structure possible and one that stands without support.
3. Planning and Adaptability Team Building Games
Planning forms the crux of important business projects. You can try these team building games to help your team understand the importance and nuances of planning.
- Build it up – Keep a structure made up of building blocks in a different room. Give same type of building blocks to all teams. Let one member from each group look at the building for a set time. He or she will guide the team to make the exact structure. At pre-decided intervals, make other members take turns to go look at the structure they are supposed to replicate. Time the entire process to make it competitive.
- Order, order! – Give each member a picture card from a story. They can observe the card themselves, but cannot show it to the others. By talking about what is depicted on their cards, they have to set the cards in order. Once they have designated each card with a number, they can place the cards according to the designated sequence and see if they got it right!
- Draw, but what? – For this classic game, divide the members in pairs. Show a simple picture to one member and ask them to describe it to the other member. The other member draws it. The instructions need to be in such a way that they do not give away what the actual picture is. The pictures should be of simple objects. Let the team members take turns drawing, like in this video:
4. Trust Building Games
It’s important that the members in a team trust each other. The following games will boost trust and also emphasize the importance of trusting your team members.
- Lock them up! – Lock team members in a room. Let them complete a complex activity, like solving a jigsaw puzzle or a series of riddles, to unlock the password or find the key to come out! This is similar to the recent escape room phenomenon.
- Watch where you are going – Mark a large area on the ground and place square A4 size papers within the marked area. These papers denote landmines. Let 2 members into the area at one time. The objective is to go from one end to the other, blindfolded. Their team members guide them so that they do not step on the papers or on the boundary line.
- Run carefree – Divide the team into pairs. Blindfold one and let the other guide them along a designated path, slowly. Next, increase the speed so that it’s a brisk walk. As the trust builds up, make them jog, and finally run very fast! Repeat by blindfolding the other one.
The above games are for your reference. You can use them as an inspiration to come up with games that suit your team structure. You can improvise and add complexity. Most of these games either do not require props, or can be played with easily available props. The purpose of these games is to provide a fun time which translates into a team with a better focus and reduced stress levels (learn more about dealing with stress in the workplace).
Apart from these games, frequent team outings, informal coffee breaks, team lunches or dinners are a great idea to keep the team motivated and efficient.
And remember, teams that play together, work together, better!!