Team building activities help team members bond with each other. For this, exercises and games are formed keeping in mind that they are supposed to be fun and effective. The bottom line is that, without realizing, these team members come together for a particular task, and it helps in their bonding.
These games can be played in pairs or in small to medium-sized groups. Every activity should have a facilitator, and this is an important aspect, as it depends on that person to make these team-building activities fun as well as effective. These activities are useful for a group of college students, small kids, adults, and corporate professionals. The article focuses on exercises that are useful for corporate.
The lower management consists of a large number of employees. It is very important to maintain the team spirit in this level of management. The following exercises will help in this cause.
We Are Connected:
All the employees are asked to stand in a circle. Any one member of the group is asked to find another member with at least three common alphabets in their names. Then they are asked to join hands and find other members who have the same common letters. By the end of the game, all the team members will be holding hands with the common letters. This will make the members realize that they are all connected as a team. E.g.: If there are three members whose names are Joseph, John and Daniel, Then Joseph and John have three letters in common. In this way, the chain will go on increasing.
Divide the employees into teams of 4 – 5 members each. The facilitator will give a situation which a member will have to enact, without talking to his team. His or her team members have to understand the actions and then join him in the acting. At the end, when all the members are enacting the situation, the facilitator will ask each of them what their guess was about the situation. The team whose maximum members have enacted the right situation, will win. This exercise will help develop communication among the members, if the activity is repeated. E.g.: A situation like a person walking into an ATM branch can be given. The members can enact the various things in the branch, like the ATM, the air duct, door, etc.
Everyone is divided into teams of 4 – 5 people each. Clues are placed in the office premises which lead the teams to the next clue, and finally to a common place. The members need to decode the clues in order to get to the next clue. During the game, they can pass through the office building, the cafeteria, and all the important places in the office. This will help the team understanding develop, and they will come up with strategies to get to the next clue.
The Bigger Picture:
The facilitator uses a picture that is well-known to all the participants. This picture is then cut into small pieces that are treated as puzzles. These small pieces of the images are distributed among all the participants. They are handed a piece of paper and asked to reproduce the image that they have received. At the end of the session, all the images are placed together to make the whole picture. All the images will not be of the same size, and this will make the lower management realize that their contribution too is also important to the firm.
This activity will make the employees feel comfortable at the start of the session. Everyone is divided into a group of 2 – 3 members. The facilitator will give a word to each team. The members have to sing songs using that word, only for a minute. This will help the freshers loosen up and have fun. They will also bond with the other members of the team. E.g.: If the word given is ‘love’, the team has to sing songs using it, for about a minute.
Middle managers are the link between the top management and the lower management. They tend to interact with other team managers as well. Hence, the need to build stronger team values for this group is essential. Here are a few useful exercises for them.
The employees are asked to stand in a circle and allotted numbers. 4 – 5 employees receive the same numbers. The numbers are not disclosed to others in the team. Then the team decides an animal for each number. When the facilitator calls out any number, the members allotted with that number should find the others by making the sound of the animal. This is a fun activity that can be played to help the employees loosen up. It can be more fun if 2 – 3 numbers are called out together. E.g.: All the members who are allotted the number 5, is associated with a cat, then all the members with this number will imitate the sound of a cat and find each other.
The members are asked to form pairs. One team member in the pair is blindfolded. A field containing lots of items will be laid down. The other team member has to guide his partner through the field to reach the other end. This is an activity which helps increase trust among the members. This can be played with those who work in the same team professionally.
Pass the Rope:
Everyone present is divided into a team of not more than four members. The members of each team have to stand close together. They are given a rope that is tied into a circle. Together, the team members have to pass through this circle. The team that does this the maximum number of times is declared the winner. This activity will help in increasing the coordination between the members.
A helium stick (a thin and long rod, which actually contains no helium!!!) is needed for this game. Two rows are formed, and the members of each row are asked to hold the helium stick only using their index fingers. The task is to lower the helium stick. The main point of the game is that the more the members try to lower the stick, the more it gets lifted. This is because, since the team members cannot lower the stick simply by taking off their fingers, they actually tend to strain their fingers in the quest to lower it, which ends up applying greater pressure collectively than what the stick actually weighs. This is where creativity and team spirit comes into the picture.
Catch the Ball:
Members are divided into equal groups and asked to stand in a circle. Each team is given a soft ball, which they need to pass to another member while calling out his/her name. This is to be repeated, till all the members get the ball. The time taken for this is noted. They are then given a goal of the least time taken to pass the ball. Most teams tend to form smaller, closer circles to accomplish the task .This will help them to understand the need of teamwork for achieving a goal.
Top management employees generally do not focus only on the daily activities of the firm, instead they manage the firm. As the final decision-makers of the company, they have to enhance their leadership, creative and disaster management skills time and again. The activities mentioned here help develop these essential skills.
Great Egg Drop:
Groups of people of about 10 members each need to prepare an egg that does not break when it is dropped. They need to be creative in finding the best method to prevent breaking of the egg and what to use. They also need to develop a jingle to promote their device that will prevent the egg from breaking. This exercise helps people with creative differences to come together in a task, and it is also a lesson in leadership and delegation.
Who’s the Survivor?:
All those present are divided into small teams of 4 – 5 members each. They are given a hypothetical situation that they are stuck in. Then they are given a list of essential items, from which they will be allowed to use only a few. The team needs to choose those items from the list that are needed for their survival. This will test the leadership skills of the members, and also the quality of being a team person gets reflected. Also, problem solving skills of the managers are improved. E.g.: The members can be given a situation like they are stranded in a lift, and they only have a laptop (with low battery back-up), some food items, a half-filled glass of water, etc. They have to decide which items they should choose for their survival till they are rescued.
This is a fun-filled activity. The employees are divided into two teams, and are made to stand facing each other. A circle is drawn around the teams. The goal is to make the other team cross the boundary and move out of the circle by using any verbal powers. The teams can negotiate, argue, discuss; they can use any verbal influence to make the other team step out. Each team member will be given the opportunity to negotiate. This activity improves the negotiating and convincing qualities of the team. Team strategy also plays an important role in completing this activity.
The members are divided into two teams. Each team is given a start and a finish line. All the members of the team have to walk to the other end. The important aspect of the game is that all the members of the team have to cross the finish line at the same time. If the team fails to do this, they will have to start all over again. The members can hold hands or walk at the same pace or can use any such strategy to complete the race. This activity highlights the coordination aspect of a team. The senior managers have to work coordinately to achieve a common goal. E.g.: The members can hold hands, take smaller steps, or choose any such technique to accomplish the task successfully.
This is an outdoor activity. The participants are asked to stand in a circle. They are given a bucket that is filled with water. The participants are then asked to balance the bucket on their feet. They can hold hands for better balancing. This can be a timed event as well. The level of water in the bucket at the end of the session will decide the winner. This activity signifies that the senior management should be united in case of any crisis to reduce its impact on the firm. The team strategy and trust qualities are also enhanced here.
Situation – A marketing team consisted of some newly joined employees. These employees were put in the team which already had a handful of long-term employees. The team was finding it difficult to work as one unit. This differences were costing the company its profit margins.
Areas to Be Focused – Mutual Trust, Communication, Common Goal, Coordination (Also, the results of exit interviews can help in understanding the other areas that need to be focused on).
Solution – Each person is individually interviewed and their key skills are identified. The lack of mutual trust and understanding amongst the new and old employees is the area that needs to be focused on. Trust-building exercises should be carried out with two teams, each consisting of new as well as old employees. The second area that needs to be focused on is the lack of communication. Communication-building exercises will help in achieving this. Also, exercises like a treasure hunt will help in making the employees work as a team towards a common goal.
Team building exercises enhance the basic qualities of the team, namely – Trust, Communication, Strategy, Co-operation, Commitment, Problem Solving Skills, Teamwork, and many more. These qualities help to improve the efficiency of the team, and in turn increase the efficiency of the firm. When the team works as one united unit, the firm is hugely profited. The following quote rightly gives the meaning of a team.
Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success. – Stephen Covey