5 Great Team Building Exercises

January 25, 2012


We all know that strong teamwork is the key to a company’s success, yet cohesive and successful teams take time to build. That’s why team building exercises can be beneficial for any business, small or large, to promote teamwork success. The idea behind team building exercises is to perform activities that are both fun and challenging, and that build teamwork skills to improve team performance and productivity. Team building exercises provide a good way to start meetings and are excellent for any work environment. These exercises will help team members to grow comfortable with each other and to promote effective listening and augment contributions. We will take a look at 5 great team building exercises that are designed to improve communication, problem solving and decision making skills, boost motivation, build team strength and trust.

A Truth and A Lie – have each member introduce themselves by stating their name plus one truth about themselves and one lie. After each person makes their statements, allow for open conversation where everyone questions each other on their two statements. The idea is to convince the other members that your lie is actually a truth, while guessing the truths/lies of the others. After the questioning period, vote as a group on each member’s statements. Points are awarded for each lie guessed right or for stumping other members on your own lie. This exercise helps to get to know your coworkers better and encourages group interaction and communication.

The Greenlight – In this exercise team members identify a real work problem they had recently encountered. Ideas to solve the problem will be gathered within the group. Team members are not allowed to make any negative comments and share only positive ‘greenlight’ ideas. Each member provides the team with his or her ideas on how to solve the problem. After the ideas are presented, the whole team brainstorms for the most effective problem-solving strategy. This activity helps the team to openly communicate, to formulate best practices and to draw onto their core team values.

The Office Scavenger Hunt – This teambuilding exercise creates not only excitement but also facilitates team bonding while team members learn more about their organization, work policies and procedures. The activity is preferable done in small teams. Have a list with 20-30 different items or information resources handed out to the teams. Provide a time limit for the teams to find as many items on the list as possible. You might also want to inform individuals and departments in your organization that this Scavenger Hunt is taking place. At the end of the activity, allow time for a conversation to discuss the items and their importance to teaming.

The Helium Stick – This exercise is a fun activity that allows you to draw conclusions about the working relationships and interactions within your team, their problem solving skills, as well as their verbal and non-verbal communication. For this exercise, have your team hold a very thin dowel rod, the thinner the better, onto their index finger. Every member has to keep both index fingers in constant contact with the stick. At any time, the stick can only be resting on the index fingers. The goal is, as a team, to lower the stick from chest height to about one-foot off the ground. If a team member loses contact during the process, the team has to start over. The challenge will present itself pretty quickly. The stick is so light that the up-force from the team member’s finger trying to stay in contact will raise the stick. Take a break after the team has been struggling for a few minutes to create a plan from their previous experience. The team will work together to figure out the best strategy to make the activity work.

The Mine Field – the idea behind this exercise is to improve team members trust, their relationship, and to communicate in a more effective way. You will need an open space such as an empty room or hallway in which you will distribute ‘mines’ that are placed haphazardly around the area. The ‘mine’s can be cones, balls, bottles etc. Team members are paired into teams of two. One team member will be blindfolded and the other can see and talk, but is not allowed to enter the field or touch their partner. The challenge is for the blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the mines by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners.



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