3 Effective Team-Building Exercises to Improve Group Cohesion

team-buildingIf you’re a manager with a newly assembled team, or you’re incorporating newer workers into an established team, one of the keys to group performance is establishing team cohesion. Sure, this can happen naturally over time, but you need your group performing on all cylinders now.

Teams perform best, as a general rule, when they understand how each person thinks, solves problems, works, and engages. You can promote a quicker understanding between co-workers through fun team-building exercises. Such exercises can facilitate a more collaborative team culture, help in group problem solving, assist in group out-of-the-box thinking, and even improve overall group morale. Here are three we recommend:

Negative & Positive

Is there some negativity in your group, or resistance to approaching tasks or projects with the most productive and positive attitudes? In this exercise that you can conduct right in the office, the group is divided into pairs. In each pair, one partner will share something negative that has happened to them with the other partner. These should be true occurrences that took place in a personal or work setting; it doesn’t matter. After the first partner presents the experience as a negative, the second partner has to present the same experience with a focus on the positive aspects, uncovering the silver lining(s) of the experience. Then the two switch roles. The objective here is to learn how to take adverse situations and reframe them into growth experiences, and to do it collaboratively.

Scavenger Hunt

Is your team broken up into smaller cliques? Then this exercise is ideal for getting co-workers who haven’t engaged and collaborated much with one another to do so. Divide the group into pairs that you would like to see communicate more often (such as those who will be working on projects together). Provide a list of absurd tasks for each team to complete together, along with a deadline for each task. As examples, you may ask one team to take a funny video with a stranger out at lunch, or to compile a list of YouTube videos that make them laugh. The scavenger hunt can take place over a normal workweek, for instance, with no set time for the activity. Whichever team completes the list quickest wins. The objective here is to bring the needed levity for people who will work together to bond and appreciate one another’s personalities.

Escape Room

These places are trending in DFW, and they are perfect for fostering group collaboration and problem-solving. Escape rooms often have different themes, such as escaping captivity, breaking out of prison, or escaping from a failed mission to Mars. Assemble teams of four with different skill sets that would likely bring a unique perspective to the group. For example, pair creative types with scientific types. Enabling people to bring their own unique talents to bear in a fun setting outside of the office will help to improve communication, foster respect for different approaches, and demonstrate how complementary skills can enable team success in company projects. It also fosters a sense that the group is ready to win together.

Have you had success with a particular team-building exercise? Feel free to share the details of your exercise and the results you experienced with us on Facebook!