Most managers actively look for ways to enhance morale and camaraderie with the staff members on their team. Unfortunately, employees look at the idea of team building and ice breaking exercises as unnecessary, awkward, and not fun; so how do you get your team excited about these beneficial developmental activities? You simply break out of the “standard” team-building activities and do something that is less painful than sitting in a meeting and having them talk about themselves. Here are a few recommended exercises that are going to excite and motivate your team.
A lot of the time, the best way for your staff to get to know each other is to just let them interact on their own accord. If put in the right situation such as a field trip or a group luncheon, they are going to automatically start conversations amongst themselves. You can encourage and incorporate food, games, and even prizes to help motivate more people to participate. Allowing them to bring members of their family is also a great option.
Join Together and Give Back
Determining a mutual cause that everyone on your team cares for is a highly beneficial way to get your staff bonding with one another. Supporting volunteer outings with organizations in need helps to boost morale and leaves your employees feeling great. During the holidays, you can have your team deliver food and school supplies to non-profit organizations, and you can also take part in Habitat for Humanity type adventures. You might be surprised with just how much helping others helps to bring other people closer together.
Development, learning, and growth are crucial to your staff’s success, and yours. However, professional development isn’t something that they need to do on their own. Have your team take part in an activity that teaches them to learn collaboratively. You can invite a special guest speaker, have online seminars, or have your entire team work on a project together instead of them doing it on their own. Collaborative work is one of the most recommended ways to get your team consistently working together.
Compatibility programs such as Strengths Finder and the Myers-Briggs Personal Index are great tools to get your employees talking about their strengths and personality in a not-so-awkward fashion. The tools open the lines of communication, encouraging your team to speak with each other about results and work styles. If you want to make it more fun and interactive, you can have your employees predict outcomes for other co-workers, or even ask them to come up with a celebrity that they think represents them.
Show and Tell
You might believe that show and tell is just taking you back to elementary school, but if you add a touch of flare, it can be a fun and low-pressure activity that helps your team learn about each other. Consider asking each employee on your team to bring in something that best represents them during your monthly meeting. Items can range from poems, family photos, favorite recipes, a beloved book, an article, and much more. At the end of your meeting, have a roundtable discussion where each person shows their item and explains why it’s important to them. It’s fun, fresh, and doesn’t take a lot of effort.
As long as you put forth a bit of effort, engaging team activities doesn’t need to be stressful for you or them. They can be a lot of fun as long as they are creative. Don’t shy away from trying something new; your team is going to appreciate the efforts and the break from the mundane. They are going to walk away from the activities feeling refreshed and confident, and as a manager, there’s nothing better than a positive worker who is excited to be productive and part of the team.