When your work team has a strong rapport with one another, it will only make the work that much better. But with so many personalities that make up your workplace, building a strong team may take some effort. Team building exercises can be a fun way to get to know each other, trust each other, and work better together.
But using the same tired team building exercises, like trust falls, or the old three questions mingle, can get old and lose their meaning. Instead, try these creative team-building exercises to strengthen the bonds with your team.
Best and Worst is a creative take on the typical icebreaker question-and-answer session. Instead of, “Where did you grow up?” or “What’s your favorite color?” Best and Worst asks each team member to write down a question about the best and worst thing they want to know about their teammates.
For instance, the best could be, “What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?” and the worst could be, “What was your worst subject in school?” It encourages you to think outside of the box a bit for your ice breaker questions. Then those questions are placed in a hat and each team member draws a pair at random, which they must answer.
Board games are a fun way to engage with your friends and family, but why not your coworkers? They can also help you to learn to cooperate together, work together, and strengthen your bonds. This could be anything from a 500-piece puzzle to a co-operative brain teaser board game. It will get everyone laughing, problem solving, and it will give you insight into how each team member thinks.
Sometimes the best team-building is done through work-related tasks. It feels less contrived, but still allows the team to stretch their problem-solving muscles. Consider a brainstorming session. You need to plan, so get the whole team together. Create an idea board with a set agenda and let everyone contribute a few ideas. Take turns to ensure everyone is heard.
Another form of brainstorming that you could use is called by The Muse, “Went Well, Went Okay, Could Have Gone Better.” Each team member lists something from the past month or quarter that they think went well, something they think went okay, and something that could have gone better. Then the whole team talks about it together.
There’s something exciting about a scavenger hunt. It activates that longing for adventure, that need to solve a puzzle. Hide a prize within the workplace and split your team into groups or pairs. As they begin their hunt, they’ll uncover clues that are either related to the company itself or to the members of the team. Each clue will bring them closer to the prize — and closer to having a better understanding of working together. Try pairing up new team members with more experienced team members to get the benefit of both.
This was recently featured on an episode of the popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play show, Critical Role. In it, the adventuring party tasked with saving the world found that there was some dysfunction in their group and took time to work on their honesty, communication, and trust. For communication, they were given a task. Half of the party was blinded and had to cross constantly moving platforms while the other half of the party gave them clear instructions. If they went in the wrong direction, they fell into a deep chasm.
In the real world, half of the voice actors who make up Critical Role were given blindfolds, a game mini, and a winding map that they couldn’t see. The other half of the group had to tell them which direction to move their mini. If they yelled or panicked, they were penalized. This encouraged them to give clear, affirming, and patient instructions — and it was a lot of fun, too!
Team dinners are increasingly popular. Everyone likes to eat, and it can be a way for the team to distress after the workday. But why not find a cafe or bar that serves food and has a trivia night instead of just getting dinner somewhere? You can form a trivia team and combine your knowledge to answer trivia questions across a wide range of topics. It’s another opportunity to work together, but completely disconnected from work, so it still offers you a chance to destress.