5 Tips for Better Team-Building
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When building a business or growing a team, it’s easy to get so caught up in the “hard” technical elements, like building out processes and optimizing technology, that you forget the “soft” side of things, like managing and leading a team to get the most out of them. And though both are necessary in an organization, losing focus on the latter can stunt your growth and lead to poor workplace culture. In particular, you need to focus on team-building and camaraderie.
Why Team-Building Matters
Teams that work together to achieve common goals can accomplish much more than teams that are made up of individuals who are all seeking their own personal outcomes and achievements. As Andrew Carnegie once said, “[Teamwork] is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” If you want your business to thrive, this is where it starts.
Team-building, which is basically the intentional process of establishing healthy bonds between employees and co-workers, is important for numerous reasons. Direct benefits include:
- Builds trust. People don’t trust strangers or acquaintances. Instead, they trust people that they have a personal relationship with. Team-building helps create these personal relationships, which infuses much-needed trust into the fabric of your organization.
- Improves communication. Team-building helps people figure out how to best communicate with one another. You find out how individual employees prefer to communicate and what their style is. For example, you might discover that one employee is an introvert while another employee is an extrovert, which shapes how you communicate with each one.
- Enhances productivity. In a team situation, the whole is typically greater than the sum of the parts. And if you have a close-knit team, this is even more true. People who feel connected are able to share workloads, ask for him, provide assistance, and work together to produce uncommon results.
- Minimizes conflict. Whenever you find people, you will find conflict. That’s just human nature. However, the more your team works together in team-building situations, the more they figure out how to work through conflict faster and more efficiently. In the end, this minimizes conflict and promotes better results.
- Improves retention. Think back to a job in your past that you hated. Chances are, you didn’t like the people you worked with. Now recall a job that you loved. You probably enjoyed spending time with your coworkers. And that’s true for most people. An investment in team-building is an investment in employee satisfaction (which directly impacts retention rates).
Trust, communication, productivity, less conflict, and higher retention – these are all powerful benefits that have the potential to push your business to the next level. The question is, how do you bring your team together and foster a culture that prioritizes unity and togetherness?
5 Team-Building Tips
There’s no perfect playbook on team-building. It requires you to know your team and what makes them tick. But generally speaking, following these principles will give you the best results:
- Do It During Work Hours
It doesn’t matter how exciting the activity is – we do not recommend hosting a team-building event outside of work hours. Employees value their time off and won’t want to invest personal time into a team-building activity when they could be spending it with family. Thus it’s best to do it during work hours. You’ll get much better engagement (and people won’t be resentful for being there).
- Go Off-Site
While it’s smart to do team-building during work hours, this doesn’t mean you have to do it in the office. In fact, there’s a case to be made that the best team-building activities happen outside of the office.
There’s something about going outside of the four walls of your office that help people relax, unwind, and be more engaging. By changing up your environment, you keep people on their toes and foster a greater sense of curiosity and creativity.
You don’t have to go far, but do keep it interesting. For example, you might rent mountain bikes from Bike.co and visit a local trail. Or you could find a nearby escape room and reserve a time for your team to visit. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy expensive or over-the-top. It should, however, get people slightly out of their comfort zone.
- Collaboration Over Competition
Perhaps you’ve heard that competition brings out someone’s true colors. And while this is true, competition should not be the primary goal of team-building activities. Because though it might give you a glimpse into someone’s leadership capabilities or problem-solving skills, it does very little to foster healthy connections between co-workers. Instead, it creates unnecessary tension that could morph into resentment.
It’s best if you prioritize collaboration over competition. In other words, don’t pit people against one another. Instead, put everyone on the same team to collaborate to achieve a common goal or outcome.
- Break Bread Together
There’s something unifying about food. The need to eat – and the love of good food – is something that we all have in common. And if you want to bring your team together, eating a meal together is a great idea.
There’s power in breaking bread together. It seems to facilitate healthy communication and mutual respect. It gives people a shared experience without much pretense. So if you’re looking for a quick way to bond, scheduling a catered lunch is a great place to start.
- Do it Often
Team-building isn’t something you do once a year and forget about. It needs to be a priority – something you do on a regular basis. While you might only have two or three major team-building events every year, there are plenty of small ways to foster unity throughout the workweek. Take advantage of these small moments. (They add up!)
Strengthen Your Team’s Bond
While hard, technical elements like processes, workflows, technology, and logistics matter, you can’t forget about the softer side of leading a team. By investing in team-building, you can strengthen your team’s bond and develop a healthy workplace culture where people are happy and productive. You can’t afford to delay – begin taking action as soon as possible!
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