It’s common for managers to expect their employees to develop as a team without any effort towards team building. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple!
People interact in very different ways and different teams will have different types of people. The culture in sales teams will differ from accounts, marketing will differ from product, and finance will differ from HR. Each team will have different personality types and each of those teams will behave differently from others.
COVID came and turned team dynamics on their head. Ever since, employers have been managing workplace mental health, surviving through uncertainty, and team building — at the same time.
Through this, you want your teams to be working cohesively with each other. If sales are pushing customers by telling them things that aren’t true, this leads to problems in accounts. If accounts aren’t able to process sales, then it can affect the profitability of the business. If marketing is delayed, then it affects sales.
We spend the majority of our lives at work, and happy workers are significantly more productive. Team building games can help managers achieve this.
What games improve teamwork?
The best way to approach team building is to arm your teams with ways to work better with each other. By taking time out to focus on team building, you’ll be able to fast track relationship building, helping to improve productivity, errors and miscommunication. Better yet, team building activities have the benefits of creating excitement and adding variety to our working days (something we all need now more than ever!).
To get you started, here are our 5 best team building games to improve performance.
Working well together doesn’t mean you have to be the same as one another. The benefits of diversity are well documented. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, which leads to a better-balanced team.
Outcome: Motives is an activity to help co-workers better understand each other and communicate effectively.
How to play: Without getting excessively complicated, have your team complete a personality test together, sharing the results. One good personality test is the DISC assessment. The answers offer insight into an individual’s interpersonal traits, which can help improve connection, communication, and teamwork.
#2: Three truths, one lie.
While some extroverts have no trouble socialising, introverts are often less likely to share details about themselves. This can make it hard to build relationships as a team, as co-workers navigate different communication styles.
Outcome: Three truths, one lie helps team members to get to know each other in an interesting way. This can often clarify interests, develop respect and help find common ground between coworkers.
How to play: Give four identical strips of paper to each participant. Have them write down three truths and one lie, labelling them A, B, C and D. The key here is to make sure the lie isn’t too obvious compared with the truths (i.e. I have travelled back in time).
Go around the group and have each person read out their statements in random order. When they’re finished, the team should then discuss which were truths and which was a lie. Each team member writes down an A, B, C or D for the corresponding statements and gets a point for guessing correctly which statement was a lie. Once everyone has finished, tally up the points to find the winner.
#3: Building on ideas
Ever been in brainstorming sessions where it’s the same people contributing every time? It can end up this way for a million different reasons. But, you may be missing out on ideas from employees that are less comfortable putting themselves forward. So how do you include team members that have great ideas that aren’t necessarily open to discussing them in a group environment? The answer is within this effective team building activity.
Outcome: ‘Building on ideas’ helps to encourage creative problem solving and practise inclusivity.
How to play: Create a problem that must be solved. It can be a theoretical product, a riddle, a design challenge, a brain teaser or anything that needs a solution.
Take a large sheet of paper, or jump on to Zoom with a collaborative tool like Miro and have each team member write down a sentence or two with an idea, passing the turn to the next person until everyone has contributed. The goal is for each person to build on the idea with another solution.
Continue for several rounds until everyone is completely exhausted of ideas and see how far you get. The ultimate goal here is to alleviate the common pressures of brainstorming and get some out-of-the-box ideas flowing.
#4: Resourceful Building
It’s very rare to have all the resources you require to build something perfectly. Whether it be time, money, tools, skills or people, you’ll almost always be short in some area or another.
Outcome: ‘Resourceful Building’ encourages better decision-making and improved performance by getting your team to think creatively and practice their resourcefulness.
How to play: Divide your team into equal groups. Give your team a challenge to build something to achieve a clear outcome in a set time limit. This may be as simple as an advanced paper plane or moving a ping pong ball from point A to B.
Give each team the same amount of limited resources and rules to what they can do. See how they go about planning, designing and implementing the structure to accomplish the outcome as a team, and what they can accomplish in a limited time frame. It’s a great way to challenge your team, in a fun and friendly environment.
#5: One question
With a variety of different experiences and personalities, your team members will value and think of things differently, each with its pros and cons.
Outcome: ‘One question’ shows your team that there are multiple ways to view something. It helps them to appreciate one another and make fewer judgements when co-workers respond differently to how they would. It also helps your employees to see what’s most important to them or a situation.
How to play: The facilitator writes down a list of scenarios where a person would be chosen to do something. It might be a new job hire, a commander for an army, a CEO, or a marriage. Ask each team member to come up with one ‘perfect’ question to ask the candidate to determine if they were the best fit for the scenario. Participants are only allowed to come up with one question.
Once everyone has written down their question, share your questions for insight into how everyone approaches the question. It’s an excellent way to determine what people look for in leadership or what they see as important.
Team building activities aren’t the only way to encourage employee communication and collaboration. Learn more about engaging your entire workforce through our CoreHR tools here.