Whether you’re the boss or just low-level management, building up the team spirit of your workforce is a big priority. When workers get along, not only does productivity go up, but negative aspects like fake sick call-ins and workplace disputes go down. Work can be a fun place to be – but it takes a bit of dedication to keep the atmosphere upbeat. Team building exercises are a great way to start. They’re great for new training classes, but any team can benefit. Read on for our top five!
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a fun team building game to use as an ice breaker with new training groups, or as a way for a group of current colleagues to get to know each other better. The game itself is simple – each person writes down three things about themselves. Two are true, and one is a lie. Give the group fifteen to twenty minutes to talk with each other, trying to talk up their lies and downplay their truths. The goal is to see through the lies. At the end of the allotted time, each team member will read off their list and let everybody know what was true and what was a lie. Pick a few people (based on the number participating) as winners based on their guesses, and award a small prize – candy is universally well-received!
Build a Team
This is an excellent exercise for team building through team work. Problem solving activities are excellent for groups who may not work all that well together – they force people to rely on others to get a task done. In this game, you as the leader will construct a simple sculpture out of plastic building blocks. Dividing your group into small teams, give them the task of re-creating your sculpture. The catch? Only one person from each group gets to actually see the original structure, and only for ten seconds. They must commit it to memory, report back to their teams and start building. Each team gets one final peek at the original about halfway through the allotted time, but only for five seconds. The team which re-creates the structure best wins a small prize to be shared.
For this team building exercise, all you’ll need is a beach ball. Divide the ball with a marker into 6 or 8 sections. Have your group write down six or eight questions each, on separate small pieces of paper. Collect the papers, number them yourself and place them in piles according to number. These can be fun personal questions (better for new groups) or more in-depth questions about work issues or goals.
Standing in a circle, toss the ball and have each person answer a question based on the number their index finger is touching.
This a longer-range project, but a lot of fun. Divide your group into teams, with size depending on how many participants are available. Visit a local home-improvement store – they usually have the best prices – and purchase small houseplants for each group. Try to choose one that’s relatively easy to grow.
Back at the office, task each group with keeping their plant alive – and thriving – for a set amount of time. This could be anywhere from a month to three months. Provide things like a watering can, inexpensive fertilizer and clear window space. The goal is for all the plants to be kept alive, with a group prize at the end. You could consider adding an additional prize for the team whose plant grows the most during the time period.
Remember that team building exercises need to be fun, light hearted and focused on positive thinking. It’s also best to join in – the last thing a leader wants is to be perceived as separate from or “better than” their employees.