The following is a guide that will help you deliver effective team building activities that encourage teamwork, communication, creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, time management, trust and support. It takes you step by step through each phase of the team building activity, from selecting the appropriate exercise to reinforcing the learning outcomes.
Step 1 – Select Team Building Exercises Appropiate to Your Team
To select the right exercises you must understand the purpose of the team building event and identify learning objectives. The age, ability and any physical limitations of the team members also need to be taken into consideration. Select a number of team building exercises that suite the group and venue, and that will help you achieve your learning objective.
Step 2 – Prepare For Your Team Building Activity
Go through the activity notes and gather any equipment or learning materials. Practice presenting the team building exercises to gain a better understanding of the activity and identify potential problems. Set up the activity area at the team building venue and identify and remove any hazards or potential safety issues.
Step 3 – Introduction and Explanation of the Team Building Activities
Introduce yourself to the group, discuss the importance of teamwork and the learning objectives of the team building activities. Introduce the team building exercise and outline the rules of the exercise. Obtain feedback to ensure that the team understands the activity and clarify the instructions. Provide the team with the equipment needed for the activity.
Step 4 – Run the Team Building Activity
During the activity, encourage and support the team members. Observe and note anything you can use later during the review. If there are time constraints on the activity, make sure you watch the clock and give the team a ‘time check’ occasionally. Do not stop the activity unless you run into serious issues.
Step 5 – Debrief the Team Building Activity
During the debrief, try not to call on anyone by name unless you have to. Be comfortable with silence. Watch for head nodding, smiles, and other indications that they agree with what is being said by others. If any team members give a response that is wrong or inappropriate, ask the team how they feel about it rather than correcting someone. Remember that even if the activity did not go as planned, most participants probably learned something. Try to use a mix of reviewing methods, reflection and questions to engage the team and draw out key learning outcomes.
Step 6 – Reinforce the Learning
Encourage the team leader to display anything the team created during the activity at their workplace. Advise team leaders to often refer to the activities and the lessons learned when they are coaching, giving feedback, or conducting meetings. The team leader should watch for examples of how the participants used what was learned in the team building activities. The team leader can also follow up a couple of days later and ask participants to share what impact the activities had on them.