“Team-building exercises can be a powerful way to unite a group, develop strengths, and address weaknesses – but only if the exercises are planned and carried out strategically. In other words, there has to be a real purpose behind your decision to do the exercise – for example, improving the team’s problem-solving or creativity skills. The most important step when planning a team-building exercise comes at the very beginning: you must start by figuring out what challenges your team faces. Only then can you choose exercises that will be effective in helping them work through these issues.” (Mind Tools)
To start with, here is a great ice breaker that gets people laughing at the start of a meeting, especially if the meeting is one that is typically boring, long or you simply just want to stir things up.
These fun team building activities for the workplace are really focusing on the Being vs. the Doing of the team as individuals:
What I know about you – Expressing Appreciation and Acknowledgement
To get to know a little more about others on the team, tape a blank sheet of paper on each person’s back. Pass out markers (that don’t bleed through the paper). Everyone is asked to walk around and write complimentary/appreciative words on each person’s paper (only positive comments). The time spent doing this part of the execise will depend on how large the team is. No more than 15 minutes is probably a good timeframe.
After everyone is done writing their comments, ask everyone to take the paper off their backs and share with everyone what was written down. People will put these papers on their walls in their workspace or take them home to share with family. Appreciation and acknowledgement are key components to a happy work environment and are not expressed enough in work settings. This is one of the best team building activities for the workplace that honors these two words.
Getting to know you – Insight into who people are
Pass out 3×5 cards to everyone and ask them to write down three things about themselves that others probably don’t know about them. Have everyone turn their cards into the facilitator or leader of the meeting when they done. That person reads the answers aloud and asks people to guess who they think answered the questions. It’s a great exercise to get to know people a little bit more. A question to be asked when this exercise is done is “what were some surprises you learned about people doing this? (Discuss this)
Improving Communication – Back-to-back drawing
Divide your group into pairs, and have each pair sit in a chair, back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper.
Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape without actually telling the partners what the shape is. After they’ve finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following questions: