Team building activities are a major tool in learning how to manage a team. But, they are more than just a tool. I wonder how many of us stop and realize that we spend more time with the people at work than we do with our husbands, wives, children, friends, and other family. For the most part we know very little about our co-workers. Yet, we have to negotiate, take direction from, partner with, and get along with them every day. Wow.When most people think about effective team building activities and how to manage a team they are looking through the eyes of a manager. As the manager, they have to also look through the eyes of the employee. Why? Because the employee will be doing all of the tasks the manager assigns. Through their behavior, an employee will make or break a team. They have to see the benefit of any team building activity. Then, they have to believe they can use the lessons they’ve been taught. They have to buy-into the ideas the team building activities have shown to be worth changing their behavior for.
Effective team building activities and figuring out how to manage a team starts with the manager finding out if they and those they are managing see things the same way. The greatest success will occur when employees feel like they are included in making things better. The other point that then has to be shared and defined is the manager’s vision. Certain questions have to be answered. Why are we doing team building activities? What will be different once they are done? Will we be able to give ideas during the process? Are things going to improve or are things going to continue to be the way they are? And, how are we going keep things so that they are better than before?Answering these questions is what ensures success after the team building activities. After an effective session (or series of sessions) the manager should be able to manage people who are able to work well together. Problems should be reduced. Everyone should feel better about coming to work every day. (This is where you smile and agree.)As an employee, what do team building activities mean? Are they important? Are they helpful? Are they a waste of time? Or, do they help make going to work every day a better place than it was before? That is the key. The workplace has to be a better place than it was before. That is the goal that every manager should be working towards. Picking activities that make it worth the time away from the office is very important if the manager wants to have a better team than before the activities.
The diverse set of team building tools that managers have to choose from make it possible to develop teamwork. The goal is to improve how people work together from year to year. At the very least, the questions suggested here should be answered as part of the preparation when choosing team building activities. There are two major benefits that come from choosing the right activities that promote teamwork. The first one is: higher job performance… but the biggest one is: not having to manage performance issues month after month.