Many articles focus on the importance of teamwork. Often, these articles assume the team is in place, and your goal is to introduce team building activities that maximize its performance. In this article, we share activities that can help build a project team when it is first getting started:
- Define both long-term and short-term goals. The most important team building activity is establishing a shared long-term goal and making sure everyone understands why that goal is important. It is also important to set small, short-term goals that allow the team to practice working together. For example, deciding on file management protocols and developing team ground rules are both team building activities that help the team learn how to engage.
- Give the team a dedicated space. A team room can do wonders for teamwork. A shared space facilitates physical connection, building relationships and sparking casual shared problem solving and communication. Formal ice breakers are great, but nothing breaks the ice better than being able to share lunch in comfortable place that is the teams.
- Continuously check role clarity. Teams work best when each person understands his or her role, and when handoffs between people are clear. Gaps in roles or overlapping roles can lead to interpersonal conflict, poor communication and inefficiencies. Talk actively and clearly about who has what roles – clarifying roles increases individual accountability to the team.
- Provide training in team feedback. Both teams and individuals need feedback to continuously improve. Giving and receiving feedback can be hard, so feedback training is a great team building activity that reaps many benefits. When team members are given a shared model for delivering and receiving feedback, it makes the process more transparent and easier to implement.
The benefits of team building are realized when individuals come together to create a result that is greater than anyone could have created on their own. The best team building activities lead the team to achieve concrete results, while also allowing each person to shine.