Building a cohesive team

by Dr. Glen Jones

We have all been to ‘those’ teambuilding activities or events. They are usually a meal or activities planned for the team to gather and have fun together. If you think back, there are some individuals who mostly spend time together, while they avoid others whom they have not gotten along with at work. It is just like parties back in high school. People gravitate to those with whom they have previously developed a relationship.

Teambuilding is more than just having fun together. It is intended to help the team come together. To create bonds where gaps previously existed. Although spending time together in a more social setting provides an opportunity to get to know your teammates better, this is not the best method for building a team.

To build a cohesive team, you must develop the trust between team members. You must also foster a sense of caring for one another, and provide them with the common goal. Therefore, teambuilding events should be structured to meet these goals. Building trust means that each member of the team knows that other members will do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Trust ensures that when everyone performs their part, no holes will form and the goals will be met.

Since the world always changes, it’s impacted by decisions and by the environment, the team needs to trust that other members have their back. This level of trust includes caring for each other. When you care for each other, you will pull together to help when someone falls short, or when something abnormal occurs. After completing your work, you step in to help.

Think of a family. Everyone has a job: mother, father, son, and daughter. Chores are assigned within the family, and everyone contributes. This is an example of the trust component. However, when something occurs, such as illness, let’s say in this case, mom is bedridden, the remainder of the family pitch in to take care of her chores. They also pitch in to take care of her so she can get better. This is an example of caring for each other.

Think if your project team, or department, performed this selflessly to ensure the organization’s goals were met. They can, if you properly build your team on these components, trust, caring, and a common goal. Trust is built when a group is challenged. The challenge must be difficult and require that all to contribute. To build trust with your leaders, it helps to have them be included as a team member in the challenge. Service opportunities also help to build trust, as they are an opportunity to change the environment, and to bring out new skills in members. The focus on providing service also changes the team dynamic.

team building activities team building event team building activity team members team member company culture other team members team building games entire team entire group team building events team building exercises team leader team building exercise creative thinking group members problem solving fun team building activity fun team building activities team building game opposing team virtual team conference room other teams remote team corporate team building activities indoor team building activities building blocks teamwork skills employee engagement just a few minutes two teams a few minutes team leaders all the teams remote teams smaller teams next team meeting communication skills one team leader problem solving skills fun activity office trivia sales team team collaboration positive relationships team identity new team members one team member establish group values scavenger hunt board games team meeting fun activities team event team work team dynamics exchange ideas team feel team bond small teams fun way benefits of team building fun games fun game build camaraderie encourages teams local community encourage employees small groups distributed teams virtual happy hour employees feel valued employees feel appreciated in person critical thinking exciting event it department non verbal communication employee motivation not everyone large group small group innovative ideas conflict resolution other team egg drop memory wall tennis ball memory wall promote teamwork human resources group size most teams group values classic game effective team problem solving challenges workshop meaningful mission statement first team mission statements finish line fun team building build bridges deeper relationships large teams core component escape room team building ideas new hires mutual trust new teams hilarious host time limit treasure hunt everyone's ideas one lie other groups remote workers virtual workplaces other employees different groups virtual workplaces jigsaw puzzle build relationships improve communication other members escape rooms common goal work environment blindfolded person everyday objects fun time icebreaker games separate halves other departments sticky notes work event one half build collaboration marshmallow challenge simple game virtual activities game requires new employees record time encourage people different personalities co workers larger group desert island forces people verbal instructions trivia questions comfort zones easy game more tips large groups build trust popular game find examples problem solving activities other puzzles positive results blood pumping deserted island shared memories shark tank ice breaker masking tape three truths brain teaser barter puzzle fictional problem two truths perfect square halves fit coffee mugs one marshmallow low stakes clarifying questions great opportunity san francisco quick icebreaker build mutual trust bring people closer icebreaker questions water bottles first day how many people get your team most people communication collaboration credit card required sheets of paper work together specific goal more trust around the office important step perfect way game show work related more people 30 minutes people work one person effective team building set amount leadership skills separate sheets work life outdoor activities such thing puzzle pieces common object shared goal one end two cards team must group of people team together people love new things shared experiences employees feel best part one thing people together one item working together ask everyone way to build great way activities like one way team building event team building exercises team spirit leadership skills company's culture job satisfaction virtual games strong team team happy group size team problems employees work better teamwork separate sheets personality clashes different setting work life other abilities outdoor activities less stress puzzle pieces common object shared goal one end two cards more info group of people team must team together team bonding

Teambuilding events should provide for the needs of the team and its leaders, which may differ slightly. Team members need to develop trust and care for teammates and leaders so that they are all focused on the success of the team. Additionally, leaders also need to get to know their team members on a deeper level than they might during the normal course of work to better organize them to meet team goals. Challenges bring out the natural leaders in the team and bring to the forefront skills that are not core to each members’ job description. The extra knowledge of team members may help the leader position every member for success. It may also identify gaps in knowledge or overlaps that can be used to enhance performance.

The next time you are planning team-building activities, don’t forget to keep these goals in mind. Along with your social activity, include a tough challenge or a service project. These will help develop the bonds that are the purpose of team building. The final piece is to provide the team with common goals. Have you verified that your team knows the goals of the team, how they fit into the goals of the organization, and how they are expected to behave?

Teambuilding activities provide the perfect opportunity to ensure the team is aware of these goals. Have your team set some time to review the company’s core values, so they know the expected behaviors. Discuss what they think they mean and make sure everyone ends up with the same understanding. Review the strategic plan, identifying how each member contributes. Again, discuss their understanding of the strategy and their concerns. Review the project charter and discuss how it supports the company strategy. This is an opportunity to get everyone on the same page and bought into the goals.

Teambuilding should focus on building trust, caring, and a common goal. By incorporating all of these aspects into your team-building activities, you can truly build a high-performing team.


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