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Modern Team Building Activities for the Workplace

Organizational leadership involves a group of motivated individuals working toward a common goal, and team building is a critical aspect for success. Managers of such structures must have a robust understanding of personality types to ensure a productive and collaborative work environment. Team building games and activities promote the formation of creative skills and relationships.

Organizational Leadership & Team Building

Organizational leadership skills are very organic. Relationships are formed by a group of individuals working toward a common goal; individual personalities and how those temperaments collaborate dictate the nature of the organization. Within this type of group structure:

  • Management must ensure that there is a solid core for the group to form and provide a basis for progression toward a common goal.
  • Organizational structure is superior to individual leadership as leaders are prone to self-serving interests.

To benefit the group and result in a more cohesive, effective and ultimately successful unit within the organization, leaders must have the ability to effectively carry out these activities. Modern day team building techniques are meant to bring out the best skills in individuals and encourage a sense of unity throughout a company. Although many of these methods are updated, they stem from early training practices.

Early Team Building Approaches

Strong teams are formed through training, empowerment and feedback. Team building studies began in the 1920s and 1930s and are linked to the often-referenced Hawthorne Studies. These research activities examined groups of workers exposed to various conditions and concluded that building a group identity and feelings of social support were significant among workers.

Conditions pertinent to effective team development involved managers:

  • Taking a personal interest in each individual’s personal achievements.
  • Taking pride in the group’s record.
  • Helping the group work collaboratively to establish its own working status quo.
  • Faithfully posting performance feedback.

Critical conditions for the group were:

  • Taking pride in collaborative achievements.
  • Not feeling pressure to change.
  • Being consulted prior to organizational change.
  • Developing confidence.

Other often-referenced team development models are Bruce Tuckman’s Theory (1965), the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum, and the Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Model.

  • Tuckman’s four-stage (forming, storming, norming, and performing and later, adjourning) model claims that as the group maturesand grows more capable, their relationships evolve, necessitating a change in leadership style as well.
  • Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s Continuum shows that as the leader relinquishes authority and freedom to the team, the leader’s control diminishes.
  • Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Model reveals that ideal team development transitions from a stage of immaturity to one of maturity, at which point the team is self-managing, containing at least one potential future leader.

While all of these theories have been revised and updated, the fundamental principles are still applicable to modern team building concepts.

Motivating Teams

Consideration for the individual is an important aspect of modern team-building. For example, knowing if the individual is an introvert or extrovert, a thinker or a feeler, or one who judges or perceives, can better enable successful team building and understanding of individual motivators within the team structure.

Motivational Team Building

Motivated individuals who initiate, create, and innovate without instruction usually tend to perform better than those who are not. Different personality types adapt uniquely to motivational activities within team settings. These activities are important for collaboration and increasing mutual respect and communication as people learn about one another.

Some key theories behind building and motivating teams are:

  • Gaining new knowledge builds confidence.
  • Breaking down barriers, prejudices, insecurities, and hierarchies accelerates the building of teams.
  • Conducting activities outside of the day-to-day work context highlights individual strengths and working-style preferences.
  • Game-playing develops and improves empathy and communication skills.
  • Encouraging problem-solving and decision-making skills through challenges exercises intuitive brain functions.
  • Motivational exercises involving physical activity reduce stress.
  • Expressing gratitude is encouraging.

Approaches to Team Building

Using psychological profiling instruments can help leaders understand individuals in the organization. For example, the Benziger Thinking Styles Assessment (BTSA) determines which portion of an individual brain’s four areas is dominant in order to understand their natural strengths and primary brain functions. Activities that activate these areas enhance creativity, self-motivation, confidence, initiative, empathy, and performance quality while reducing conflict.

Team Building Activities

Team building activities can promote teamwork, boost creativity and build confidence. The following are some examples of team-building activities that enhance:

  • Communication: A team’s plane hypothetically crashes on a desert island; the team has to choose and rank 12 items needed to survive.
  • Relationships: Teams pick a charity and work together in a volunteer situation.
  • Thinking-style: Individuals are handed a picture that is part of a story. Each person describes his or her picture and the groups work together to figure out the story’s sequence based on the descriptions.
  • Values: Each person describes someone they respect or admire, elaborating on the traits that influence their choice.
  • Bonding: During learning lunches, each employee shares a special hobby or interest with the group.
  • Trust: An individual leads a blindfolded partner through a room full of objects (chairs, boxes, etc.).

There are hundreds of specific team-building activities that can positively affect the dynamic and strength of a team; their applicability varies depending on group size and makeup. Organizational leaders must understand the many contributing intricacies that result in successful collaborative environments and work to form a strategy that can best influence their teams.

If your organization is lacking a team mentality or if you are looking to strengthen your own leadership abilities, these skills can be learned through experience and an advanced degree program such as a Master's of Business Administration (MBA). Our Lady of the Lake University Online offers a flexible online schedule that can be molded to coincide with an already full professional or family life.