5 Team Building Exercises to Help Your Employees Bond

Looking to reenergize your employees? These simple team building exercises can help workers learn more about each other and work together to achieve your company's goals.
February 12, 2016

A business may only succeed if its team is able to work as a cohesive unit. Sure, everyone has their own strengths and responsibilities. But they still need to be able to weave those strengths together effectively to achieve a company’s main objectives.

That’s where team building comes in.

There are several different team building exercises and activities you can use to build cooperation, trust and bonds among your team. Plus, they can be really fun!

Here are team building exercises you can use to help strengthen your team.

Active Listening

Active listening can embody a number of different activities. One of the most common and effective active listening exercises involves physically showing whoever you’re communicating with that you’re actually listening. So instead of quietly sitting still while they talk, you could nod, smile or show another form of acknowledgement. Try this exercise—after listening to a presentation or discussion, have your team summarize, in their own words, what was said.

This team building exercise can help encourage your employees to really hear one another and improve communication throughout your workplace. When some might feel they’re not being heard or others might get distracted during regular communication, this method can really help encourage people to begin listening and communicating clearly.

Crossing the Line

The main part of this team building exercise is played with just two people. But the real value can come from the discussion afterward. So consider doing this at a full meeting or similar event where your whole team is present and can be broken off into teams of two.

To play, choose two team members and have them stand in a large circle with a line down the center, with one standing on each side of the line. Tell them their goal is to get the other person to cross over the line using any means other than physically dragging them across. They can bargain, persuade or even bribe.

After the game is completed, have your entire team discuss what happened during the game. One of the benefits of this game is demonstrating to your employees the best ways to persuade and influence people positively. For instance, it’s often more effective to ask the other person what they want rather than just making demands or offering them something that’s really of no interest to them.

It can also show your employees the value of community over straight competition.

Find the Common Thread

The goal of this team building exercise is to have your team members find some of the things they have in common. To play, break your team up into small groups and instruct each group to find one thing they all have in common. They might find that they all have dogs, love Motown music or regularly watch the same TV show. When each group has found at least one commonality, bring them all back together and have them announce what they discovered about each other.

Once completed, you should have a team that knows a bit more about their fellow employees. Some will now realize they share common bonds with employees. Some might even realize that the preconceived notions or assumptions they had made about their fellow co-workers were incorrect.

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts can be popular activities for parties and various other gatherings. But they can also be effective as team building exercises. To put a business spin on this activity, split up your team by department, then set up clues related to your company. Alternatively, you can split up teams so everyone has to work with people in other departments, if your goal is to encourage inter-departmental cooperation.

The benefit of this exercise can be to get your team to work together to create a healthy, competitive atmosphere. You can either use the scavenger hunt to improve teamwork among people who work together every day, or to get people who don’t work together to form bonds and improve communication.

If you use company-centric clues, it can also help increase their knowledge about your business in general.

Truth and Lie

The purpose of this game, sometimes called “two truths and a lie,” is to help your team get to know one another better. To play, have each member of your team come up with three statements to share about themselves. Two of those statements should be true, and one should be a lie. When each person shares their three statements, have the rest of your team discuss which one they think is the lie.

By playing, you can encourage more open communication throughout your team, because everyone will know just a bit more about who they work with. Some might even be surprised to find out some things they never knew about each other. And that can help improve the working relationship your team members have with one another overall.

Read more articles about motivating employees.

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