Here is our list of the most important team building tips.
Team building tips are suggestions for forming close-knit and high achieving teams. For example, creative thinking, investing in professional development, and leading by example. The purpose of these tips is to empower leaders to help build stronger teams within organizations.
This list includes:
- tips for team building
- teamwork tips
- collaboration tips
Alright, here is the list!
List of team building tips
Want to unlock the secrets that make great teams tick? Here are ten of the best team building tips.
1. Think Outside the Box
The classics are the classics for a reason. Team building games like two truths and a lie and activities like lining up in birthday order are quick and easy. They can also get boring fast if repeated too often.
You want a team building exercise that will truly engage your team. Teams may forget the cookie-cutter ice breaker you did once. Create a unique and interesting experience, and the effects will last much longer. By the way, you can do effective icebreakers too.
A few fun and unique team building ideas:
- Improv Class
- Food Sampling
- Museum Tour
- DIY Project
- Exercise Challenges
Set the tone for your team to be creative and innovative by choosing unconventional and unusually fun activities.
2. Allow for Professional Development
The movers and shakers of the world want to get ahead in their careers, but work life balance is important. Employees appreciate on-the-clock professional development because they get paid to learn and give up less of their personal lives.
One third of employees that have left jobs cite lack of career development opportunities as a reason. When you give your employees the tools to grow, their improvement feels like a team project versus a lone effort.
Seize opportunities to make professional development a team building activity:
- Attend a class or seminar as a group.
- Call in a professional to give a lecture or host a discussion.
- Pair employees with a team mentor.
There are plenty of ways to sharpen your team skills while strengthening bonds.
3. Involve and Engage All Team Members
Some people are social butterflies, while others need a little encouragement. Team building aims to involve everyone. If one team member withdraws and fails to bond with the others, then the whole team misses out.
As team leader, you should allow everyone opportunities to contribute. Be sure to involve all team members in a way that helps everyone feel included and empowered.
Here are some team building tips that engage all employees:
- Schedule regular team-wide meetings, check-ins, and virtual team building exercises.
- Ask reserved employees for feedback, especially when other coworkers dominate the conversation.
- Do large group icebreakers that involve everyone.
- Allow time and space for casual conversations. Feel free to use icebreaker topics to spark discussion.
If everyone on a team is not adding to the conversation, then your team is not maximizing its potential. On an ideal team, everyone works together to achieve results. Plus, employees who feel included are much more likely to work well and much less likely to quit.
4. Highlight your Team’s Strengths and Interests
Everyone deserves a chance to shine. According to Indeed, 98% of workers report performing better when they feel confident. How do you turn your team members into stars? Play to their strengths.
In The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, John C. Maxwell claims that “all players have a place where they add the most value.” He calls this the “Law of the Niche.” Every team member excels at something. As manager, it is your job to find out what that “something” is.
Judge your team’s skills and assign roles based on their abilities and areas of expertise. Offer coaching when employees struggle. Be sure to reward good work and acknowledge extraordinary efforts. This effort is one of the key teamwork tips.
This effort may feel like a lot of work up front, but it pays off big time. Capitalize on your teams’ strengths and you will tap into your team’s passion. Passionate employees motivate themselves, saving you work in the long run.
5. Use Rewards & Recognition
There is a great scene from “Mad Men” where employee Peggy Olson and boss Don Draper square off in the following exchange:
Don: It’s your job. I give you money, you give me ideas.
Peggy: You never say thank you!
Don: That’s what the money’s for!
The money-only compensation model is as outdated, together with all the drinking and womanizing that happens in the “Mad Men” offices. An American Psychological Association survey found that feeling valued at work links to well-being and performance. Employees want more than money. When employees feel as if their employers appreciate them, they are much less likely to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
A few ways to reward good work:
- Acknowledge achievements.
- Encourage the team to congratulate colleagues.
- Provide perks like childcare or well-being bonuses.
- Team-build through games and activities that involve goodies and prizes.
Remember, a simple “thank you” goes a long way, but kind words are not everything. Think about what you can do to show your team your gratitude.
Here is a list of benefits and perks you can give employees.
6. Lead By Example
“Do as I say, not as I do.” We hate hearing it from our parents, and we hate hearing it from our bosses too. When you break your own rules, employees are less likely to respect you or follow those rules.
One of the most vital tips for team building is for leaders to model good behavior. This effort means sticking to company values and participating in initiatives.
A team leader is just as much part of the team as they are a leader. If employees see a manager pitching in on a project or joining in a team building game, it creates a “we’re all in this together” mentality. Employees come to see their leaders as fellow contributors. In turn, employees feel more valued and go above and beyond for the sake of the team.
This goes a long way towards getting employees comfortable with team building. Team members are more likely to croon a few tunes at karaoke if they see you screech into the mic first.
Here are similarly important skills for managers.
7. Respect Your Team’s Time and Boundaries
You planned your team building events, gathered all your supplies, and announced the idea to the group. “Good News! From now on, everyone will spend three hours every Thursday night doing team building activities after work!” Your team responded with a round of groans and eye rolls. Do they hate fun?
While team building is important and you may mean well, it is important to consider your employees’ workloads and outside obligations when planning activities. Is a deadline approaching? Is the department understaffed? Do your employees have small children or sick parents?
Even the most interesting and well-intentioned ideas may spark resistance if your employees feel as if you are ignoring their needs.
Be considerate and compassionate when introducing new projects or team building activities. Do not overschedule. Make some projects or events optional if possible. Give employees a range of dates to choose from so that no one accuses you of stepping on their schedules. Vary outside activities so that everyone can enjoy them. Do not force non-drinkers to go to bars, for example.
Respect your teammates’ time and feelings and they will be much more likely to participate. Team building should be engaging and enjoyable, so ensure it does not feel like a chore!
You can keep on top of the schedule with time tracking software.
8. Tend to Conflicts Before They Happen
Why can’t we all get along? One of the trickiest parts of working in a team is dealing with personality clashes. Good managers mediate conflicts. Great managers prevent them.
Instead of responding to conflict, put a stop to it before it starts.
Here are some collaboration tips to usher in harmony:
- Schedule regular team building activities to strengthen bonds within your group.
- Get to know your team and make an effort to pair people who will work well together.
- Set clear goals and expectations. Hold everyone accountable.
- Develop trust within your team. Take an interest in your team members as human beings and encourage them to do the same with their colleagues. Learn more about creating trust at work.
- Make communication a priority and give team members easy ways to communicate.
Toxic teams make for unfun work environments and lead to higher levels of employee stress. Do not wait for things to come to a head. Make a conscious team building effort from the start and it will save you many headaches down the road.
9. Let Team Members Weigh In
Everyone wants to be heard. No one wants to feel invisible or ignored.
If employees feel like their ideas are tuned out, they will stop contributing. When your team members’ suggestions fall on deaf ears, they feel less ownership of their work, and may not go above and beyond. People grow frustrated.
Meanwhile, employees who feel listened to are over four times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. This impact means higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity, tighter company culture, and a stronger bottom line.
While you do not need to agree or go along with every idea, it is important to help all employees feel heard. Here are a few ways to go about it:
- Allow everyone a chance to speak in meetings. Rotate speaking order so that no one person is always rushing to make their point in the final minutes.
- Acknowledge every comment. Even if only with “I do not think that is the best right now,” or “Let’s circle back to that later.”
- Request feedback. Whether via informal check ins or anonymous surveys.
- Follow through. Do not make empty promises and pretend to listen. Never fake considering an employee’s ideas. It will be obvious when you make calls on your own.
- Explain the logic behind your decisions. Overruled employees are less likely to get upset if they understand why.
Give employees choices in and outside of work. Let them vote on options for team building activities, perks, or dates.
If you want to create a collaborative space, you need to value your team members’ contributions.
10. Keep Learning and Improving
Team building is not a one and done deal. It is a constant process that is always evolving.
While a wealth of great resources for team building exist, there is no chiseled-on-a-stone-tablet team building Bible. New activities and advice pops up constantly. The best thing you can do for your team is to commit to team building and keep yourself up to date with all the trends and best tips.
Your team will keep changing and growing so shake up the team building plan to meet their needs.
These helpful tips form a solid foundation for your team bonding process. Our blog contains many other useful resources for leaders, including advice for how to manage remote teams. If you would like a hand in the execution of events, we offer structured team building events guided by enthusiastic facilitators.