Team Building for the Modern Workplace

Earning an MBA can help you gain the skills and leadership abilities necessary to thrive in the corporate world. While a degree is helpful, it is equally important to be able to work as part of a cohesive team. 

Studies show the importance of team building, one of which is the Hawthorne Studies1, which date back to 1920 and show how strong, engaged teams in the workforce increase productivity. 

Team building activities can be both effective and fun. Let’s look at four:

Workplace Team Building Activities 

1. Human Knot 

Objective: Promote leadership, problem solving and communication
Players needed: 8-20 people 
Time required: 30 minutes

  • Participants stand in a circle with their shoulders touching.
  • Everyone puts their right hand in the air and grabs the hand of someone across from them, and then does the same with their left hand. 
  • Without anyone letting go of hands, the group must communicate with one another to untangle themselves.

2. Take What You Need 

Objective: Get to know existing coworkers and welcome new ones 
Players needed: 10-30 people 
Time required: 30 minutes

  • Pass around a bucket of pennies and simply tell everyone to take as many as they need. 
  • Do not provide any other details. 
  • For every penny that an employee took, they must share one fact about themselves with the group.

3. Problem Tree 

Objective: Identify and solve problems within the workplace
Players needed: 5-20 people 
Time required: 60 minutes

  • Each employee writes down a problem they have at work. (Make sure it’s not about a specific person, but about a process or ideology.)
  • Have each employee write down two things that they think cause that problem, connecting each of the causes to the main problem with a line that mimics a tree branch.
  • A manager collects the “branches” and puts them on a large marker board where a tree is drawn.
  • The manager identifies common problems and leads a group discussion about potential solutions.

4. Praise Jar 

Objective: Recognize the great contributions of staff
Players needed: 5-20 people 
Time required: 20 minutes

  • Each employee writes a recent accomplishment of a coworker on a piece of paper, without naming the person.
  • The accomplishments can be simple like, “This coworker handled a particularly rude customer in a great way,” or something as big as, “This coworker doubled his sales goal for the month.”
  • Fold all of the papers and put them in a jar. 
  • The manager reads each one and the team guesses which coworker is described.

These workplace team building activities complement the leadership and managerial skills obtained in an online MBA program, like the one offered at Our Lady of the Lake University. For more information, visit the online MBA program website or call 855-275-1082 to speak with a Program Manager. 


1The Human Side: Hawthorne.