Too often, the process of team building is about team members developing relationships and their ability to get to know each other better with their energies directed toward problem solving, task effectiveness, and maximizing the use of all members’ resources to achieve your team’s purpose.
The team building process is an effort which can involve structured activities and exercises that your employees lead or the use of external intervention to facilitate the process—generally, with activities that strengthen fundamental concepts such as goal-setting, trust and respect, interrelationship, motivation, creativity, and effective communication. If your team has all these concepts in the works, your team will certainly be in harmony and productively geared toward meeting its objectives and adding value to your organization.
When you consider off-work “fun” events for team building intervention which are generally used to bond together new teams or rejuvenate an already established team, you may want to be aware that, while “fun” team building activities are often recommended as a “quick and easy fix”, timing is of essence and there are certain situations where “fun” team building activities may just not be the best way to move the team forward.
- When team building effort is more play than work: especially when you have teams with younger team members that tend to know each other quite well, and are more socially cohesive, any “fun” team building effort may not add any value to the team’s productivity. There is often the case with such teams becoming too social to the extent that work processes and daily work routines are negatively impacted with discipline and productivity challenges you will have to deal with.
- When skills development matters most in maintaining a sufficiently skilled workforce: by far the factor that has the most impact on workforce and team productivity. It is your role as manager to identify employees with less than optimal skills and cultivate processes to viably enhance employee skills development, while reducing amount of time workers will be away from their work routines.
- When the issue is the behavior of managers affecting the team: because as managers you expect your workers to show increased commitment, participation and effort to help the company succeed; and when there are problems with team members falling short of these expectations, you tend to turn to team building with “fun events” in anticipation of a “quick and easy fix”. But recent studies have, nonetheless, confirmed that the behaviors of managers may be the problem in whether workers put more effort to their job functions. If you are that manager who is too focused on your objectives and not providing enough support to your team, you often result in leading a do-nothing and de-motivated workforce.
By and large, team building events can be a powerful tool for developing a team provided such “fun” events are used at the right time and in the right way for such events to achieve their desired team building expectations. You must be clear what it is that is to be achieved with your team building activities? What key issues in your teams that need to be better managed? Notably, a productive team is one that meets the expectations of its clients, become manageable and stronger as a group, and cultivates the learning and growth of team members.
For help with an independent perspective on team building interventions where and when needed, feel free to contact BAYU to see how we can help.