When you hear the words “team building,” what are your first thoughts? Do you confront the proposal with excitement and eagerness, ready to take on a challenge with your unit? Or do you shy away and hope nothing comes of the phrase? If you associate more closely with the latter, you’re not alone. Perhaps you think your team functions just fine the way it is, or maybe you just aren’t looking forward to spending time doing silly activities with your coworkers when there are duties to be fulfilled. Worst of all, maybe you envision old episodes from The Office and can’t help but cringe at the idea.
Whatever the reason may be for apprehension, it’s important to remember that team building activities can have a positive impact on the way a unit functions. The most critical goal is the overall end result that can be achieved: improved productivity, motivation, and problem-solving abilities, to name a few benefits. By getting to know your teammates from different angles and improving your work relationships, a more cohesive team atmosphere can be achieved and more member engagement can be fostered by providing a more open lane for communication.
Team building activities can also assist in increasing the level of trust that you have amongst your coworkers, making it easier to collaborate in your efforts towards a common goal. When you feel comfortable with your teammates, it is easier to relate, understand one another, and motivate your team to work together as a whole. Depending upon the type of activity being held, you also have a great opportunity to learn new collaboration and communication skills through exercises and then apply those skills not only within your work unit, but within any other team units you may have outside of work – with your family, for example.
The best part of all is there are no set rules in what you do as your team building activity; be as creative as you like. Activities can range from short 10 minute sessions to all-day affairs. Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH), the university’s Employee Assistance Program provider, has great examples that show team building can take many forms, and can also allow for an opportunity to take a step back from work and have some fun with your coworkers. Want to start small? Implement a short activity at your next departmental staff meeting, such as the popular Two Truths and a Lie game. If you would like to learn more about developing a more effective and productive team, review the resources and ideas that IBH has to offer on the topic at their webpage. In addition to building effective teams, IBH also has numerous resources as part of our employee assistance program ranging from finding a local pet sitter, to dealing with difficult neighbors, to ideas for fun recognition awards in the office. EAP benefits are free to employees and eligible dependents; to access these resources, log onto www.ibhcorp.com/eap-worklife.html with the following credentials: login LEHIGH, password Univ03.