Why team building activities don’t need to be enjoyable to work

by | Oct 16, 2019

airforce jets in display formation
Is it time for some team building activities? Maybe there has been some conflict between members of your team. Or maybe there is no conflict but there is no collaboration either.

Perhaps your departments are operating in silos, or worse still working against each other.

But what should you plan to do?

Make a bridge out of straws

An outward-bound weekend? Enter a 5-a-side league? Buy everyone a pint after work?

Or, perhaps you want to invest a little bit more time and money so that you can really start to build team cohesion.

You could try an Away Day where you talk strategy, or one of those fun problem-solving team activities where you invariably end up trying to cross some body of water using only straws, or lolly sticks, or well… you get the idea.

‘What’s wrong with that?’ I hear you say. ‘I’ve really enjoyed those in the past’.

You don’t need to have fun

Well, there’s the thing – team building activities don’t have to be enjoyable. In fact, you could argue that to be truly effective they shouldn’t be.

The most important thing you need your team building activities to do, is to build trust between members of your team.

But what kind of activities could you use to build trust? And doesn’t trust take time to build?

Increase understanding

The simple answer is that by revealing more of our true selves we can accelerate the trust building process, but, it’s not always 100% comfortable.

At Connectivity we work with lots of clients, who are looking to get their people working better together.

We often start with shadowing them in the workplace, observing their interactions and noting team dynamics.

The ways team scenarios pan out within different organisations, changes with the organisation, but they all need to increase their understanding of one another to get their teams working better.

Don’t be scared of being vulnerable

Once we have got a good idea of the different forces at play, we will facilitate workshops using a vulnerability approach to inform our team building activities.

In the very simplest of terms, this vulnerability approach helps people to open up, to share their experiences and ultimately to bond over them.

Often, we use things like sharing drawings, discussing life stories, or retelling experiences as a vehicle for revealing a person’s human side, and therefore their vulnerability.

Make changes that last

And this isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes you might share something that was deeply personal to you, or sometimes you might not know how to respond to a colleague.

What it will do though is help you to build connections that will last beyond the session with us, and help you function better as a team.

So, you don’t need to forgo the Annual Golf Day completely, but why not appreciate that for what it is, some enjoyable social time with your colleagues, and invest in some team building activities which are more efficient?

We’d love to talk you through how we can help you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.