What is team-building? Is it playing with your colleagues those weird games the Human Resources department come up with? Or is it getting silly drunk with your boss? Should it be outside of work in your spare time? Should it be strictly structured? Should it be facilitated in the office, or outside? Should it be fun? Should it be mandatory?
Because there is so much information on the web about teat building activities, one might think team building is some specific science. Actually, team building activities in a well-developed team are any activities done by all or most team members together. It could be:
- working together toward resolving some difficult problem
- having a good laugh together
- sharing a hilarious meme
- celebrating a colleague’s happy life event
- going out for a drink
- anything else which brings the team members physically and emotionally closer.
Literally team-building means creating a whole out of separate parts, a structure with common goals, interests and language.
The season of team building activities
Many companies prefer particular periods to organize team building activities – it almost seems like spring or autumn are the seasons of team buildings. Summertime is avoided by many for organizing team buildings, because this is the season people take their vacations the most. And winter is a more lethargic season, filled with family holidays and providing too often unfavorable weather.
Psychology of the groups
Organization psychologists, managers and human resources specialists all study psychology of groups and try to apply that knowledge when forming new teams, in order to maintain good working relations in the team and when adding new members to the team. In short, psychology of the groups tells us that in order for a group of people to communicate effectively and create productive relations between each-other they must feel as a part of something bigger than themselves, involved in pursuing a common goal.
It is also important to be somewhat involved in each-other’s lives outside of work, to get to know and like each-other better and this is the point where team buildings come in hand. Because working is something we do in order to provide enough resources for our personal and family needs, so it can be perceived as a strict and somewhat unpleasant activity.
We get together most often with other people, who we did not choose, people with various characters and interests, which differ from ours. But if we find common ground with our co-workers the time spend at work can become so much more pleasant. You could be surprised by the great sense of humor of the grumpy looking guy sitting next to you or how hard you could laugh at the dirty jokes told by that Merry Poppins-looking lady.
Language is another great tool for creating common ground in a team. Using work-specific terms, abbreviations made up by the bunch of you and also jokes only the team-members could understand will work as a charm for you team-building efforts.
Team building as a motivational tool
Undoubtedly, keeping your team’s motivation high at all times is hard. It is even harder for the team leader or manager to do that by herself or himself. To ease that task you could make so that the team motivates itself and team-building activities can help a great deal for that.
If you have a team that feels like a whole, not like a random gathering of unfitting parts the team will work as an amplifying machine of your motivational efforts. But in order for that to happen you must invest into a lot of team-building activities – some shorter during your working process, some will pass unnoticed, like the language you use and some bigger outside the office, such as festive gatherings, themed parties, holiday parties, weekends in the wild and so on.
Team building as booster of the human factor
As the industrialization and technology are taking over all industries we often talk about improving technological factors – better machines, better software, and better specialist in their represented fields. We even forget that behind those tools stand human beings, who besides being great specialist and working for remuneration also have desires, emotions and needs. Investing in the creation of well communicating, happy teams will bring great benefits to the company and will certainly boost both the personal and team performance.