For most people, exercise is a chore best avoided. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs end up applying the same attitude towards team building the moment they begin to think of it as an exercise. It’s true that team building is something that needs to be consciously done but it doesn’t have to be an uninspiring task where you find yourself drained of all will and energy. Instead, think of team building as an activity that needs your experience, maturity, and most importantly, your creativity in order to function as you desire.
Here are five interesting and crucial ways to give yourself the A-team that works like a dream.
According to Paul David Walker, author of Invent Your Future, “Before you can help navigate an internal dispute within your company, you should first ruminate on your personal triggers, learn how to mitigate them, and respond with compassionate curiosity towards the instigator.”
Oftentimes we are either too close to the problem or too far from it. In case of a team-building initiative, if you are the kind of boss who is hardly around or the kind who is ever too nosy, rest assured, you will get lost in a maze of employee disputes, complaints, and dissatisfaction. Therefore, before you engage in any real creative action to deal with it all, remember to stop, pause, and reflect on your own stand on the situation, measure your knowledge against the judgement/call you will take, and most of all, be sure that there are no traces of prejudice in your decision. Once you are on a strong footing yourself, you’ll be in a much stronger position to deal with the situation at hand.
Team building is all about team bonding. And while coffee machines, lunch breaks, and small escapades to the nearest waterholes provide great opportunities for your team members to bond with each other, they are hardly enough. It’s important, therefore, to take your employees out on mini vacations— not places where business and pleasure are mixed but places where they can truly get to know each other and you too.
A small trip to the hills, a guided trek to the mountains, a place of adventure sports, a stay at a jungle resort—there are many options you can choose from. While these may appeal to you, a little more research can help you find really quirky and different spots for conducting an offsite. Instead of the usual drink and dance, try and make it about coffee and conversations, and you’ll find several stories unfold and inhibitions overcome.
One of the best ways to build a team is to not build it yourself but let your employees do it for you. One of the ways to ensure success in this is to encourage friendship among employees—10 extra minutes by the coffee machine won’t really harm your business and if you have managed to build a culture where virtues like ownership and responsibility have become a part of the daily job list, you’ll never have employees gone for too long without explanation.
While it will warm your heart to see friendships blossom among your team members, you must never lose track of the goings-on in your office premises. To ensure that people do not become complacent in the name of comradeship, you can employ the employee-switch routine, a small but effective tool that allows you to make employees change partners every six months or so. The only way to make the most of this arrangement is to make it a part of your company policy and by letting each employee know about it during hiring.
Having monthly appraisals is one thing but putting up names on a white board under the title ‘employee of the month’ does not send out a message of togetherness. What it does is tell your employees that no matter how well they bond, eventually they are all up against each other in a mad race to the white board.
Instead of building an atmosphere of competition, create one which thrives on co-operation. Activities where there are no winners or losers but simply those who partake willingly and joyfully are ways to ensure equality and a sense of togetherness in your team.