By Amanda Winstead
As a project manager, your success hinges on how effectively your team operates. Naturally, you’ll select staff that have the technical skills and personal traits to thrive. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these individuals will always work effectively together as a group.
One way to boost your team’s efficacy is to host team-building activities. While these sessions are not necessarily directly related to work duties, some of the skills and traits your staff develops during them can positively impact your projects. We’re going to take a closer look at team-building activities, why they make a difference, and what sessions you could host.
Why Do Activities Make a Difference?
Team building activities can present something of a quandary for project managers. After all, their planning and execution requires investments of time and company capital. Having a solid understanding of the value they provide can help to motivate or justify their incorporation into your management strategy, as well as provide you insights into how to use them effectively.
Some ways team-building makes a difference include:
They promote cohesive units
In the best-case scenarios, your teams will be composed of people from diverse backgrounds, with various personalities, and differing skill sets. To make the most out of the advantages of this diversity, you need to ensure that there is a sense of cohesion throughout the group. Team-building activities can be a powerful tool in helping team members to understand one another better, dismantle personal barriers, and gain a greater appreciation of individual personalities away from work. This can be useful not just for new teams, but also for teams that have worked together for a long time but have developed miscommunication issues or conflicts.
They can boost energy and mood
Hosting outdoor events can boost your team’s productivity, creativity, and energy levels. After all, being in the fresh air can bring with it a sense of rejuvenation, while exposure to nature is often associated with reduced stress. The linked resource also outlines that there are clear connections between spending time being active in the sunshine and regulating serotonin levels in ways that boost mood. In essence, providing opportunities for your team to build their relationships and skills outside can help them be more energized and enthusiastic collaborators.
Utilizing indoor team-building activities can be advantageous on a number of levels. Firstly, it provides you with greater control over the environmental conditions, which enables you to more accurately plan without considering the weather. It can also provide an element of convenience, as you can host sessions on company premises without arranging transport. Additionally, if you have a remote team, indoor activities tend to be conducive to virtual team-building sessions.
Some indoor activities you may find effective include:
An increasing number of businesses have started to incorporate tabletop games into their team-building tool kits. Games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) provide opportunities for team members to get creative by playing character roles and interacting with one another in fun ways. Importantly, tabletop games present scenarios that require players to collaborate on problem-solving activities and utilize outside-the-box thinking to achieve a joint goal. Each of these elements is vital for successful projects.
Virtual team trivia
If you have a large number of remote team members, a virtual trivia session can be a practical and positive way to build their rapport. It’s worth utilizing video conferencing software that also incorporates private group chat channels so that paired team members can consult and collaborate with one another on answers. Alongside fun general knowledge or pop culture subjects, you can also include industry-related questions that help build professional knowledge areas.
As previously mentioned, outdoor team-building activities can have a powerful impact. However, it’s important to understand that this doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to traditional sports, which some staff may not find engaging or suitable. Instead, aim to offer a selection of outdoor team-building activities that are inclusive of members with a variety of interests and needs. For instance, attending local events can provide a relaxed environment to forge bonds, while taking a hike together doesn’t have to be physically taxing to be enriching for everyone involved.
Some other outdoor team-building activities to consider include:
Splitting your team into smaller groups to embark on a scavenger hunt can be a fun way to build stronger relationships. Wherever possible, ensure that each group exhibits a range of different abilities and personalities, which allows them to really learn about one another’s unique qualities. You could also work with local businesses to host aspects of the hunt and even provide samples of local goods as a treat.
Community Service Projects
Organizing an outdoor community service project for your team can be a powerful experience for everyone involved. This doesn’t just offer the bonding and problem-solving benefits of other outdoor activities. This type of event also sees your team working together toward a goal that has positive outcomes for a community they have connections to. It’s also an opportunity for team members to embrace the shared ethical values that they apply to workplace projects.
Team-building activities can be valuable tools to foster collaboration and productivity. After all, when you choose appropriate events, you can directly impact team cohesion and boost the energy they bring to projects. Indoor activities — such as virtual quizzes and tabletop games — can be impactful while minimizing disruption. However, it’s worth occasionally venturing outdoors for scavenger hunts and community service, as this makes for more varied and enriching experiences.
That said, it’s important not to simply dictate the form your team-building takes. Seek your team members’ feedback on what activities they enjoy or what they think might boost their productivity. This enables you to make decisions that boost the benefits for everyone involved.