HOW TEAM BUILDING GAMES CAN LEAD TO EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT
By Chad Michael
The best way for CEOs to begin improving productivity, efficiency, and morale in the workplace is to learn exactly how their teams work together. What are they particularly skilled at? And where could they improve? Only after understanding these team dynamics can a leader develop the strategies and processes that will support employee growth and make the business more successful.
But how to go about finding this information? One of the best ways for leaders to get to know their workforce — and for employees to get to know each other — is through team building games. These activities may sound juvenile at first, but they have helped companies all over Texas and beyond empower their staff.
Games may pit coworkers against each other in small-group competitions, or require them to solve a problem or achieve a goal together. Either way, team building games are designed to get employees collaborating outside of the office, allowing their leaders to observe their strengths and coach them on any weaknesses that become apparent through the activity.
Team Building Games Can Help Increase Productivity and Morale
CEOs who are hesitant to shut down the office for an afternoon of games should think again. The benefits of a successful team building event will more than make up for the “lost” day. In fact, team building games can boost the business in a variety of ways:
- Strategic thinking: These games require employees to complete tasks unlike anything they work on in the office. This means, rather than falling back on traditional roles and duties, the participants have to think creatively, finding innovative ways to leverage their strengths and achieve their goals.
- Communication: When we’re working with others in the office or in any other part of our lives, the foundation of success is our ability to communicate our values, knowledge, and ideas. Team building activities require employees to practice doing just that to achieve their goals and win the games.
- Collaboration under pressure: Many task-related games come with time limits, forcing teams to solve problems quickly, improving their time management skills and helping them work efficiently and thoroughly to meet deadlines, rather than cutting corners or doing a haphazard job.
- Competition: Team building games help bring out a healthy competitive edge in employees. The effort they put into winning the games will more than likely follow them back to the office, where they’ll be more invested in both their individual performance and the bottom line.
- Bonding: Finally, perhaps even most importantly, these activities bring employees closer on a personal level, building trust and breaking down barriers among teammates, and between the staff and their leaders. Following team building days, coworkers often find they are more comfortable expressing opinions, sharing ideas, and asking for help.
Team Building Games Are Not “One Size Fits All”
No two organizations are the same and, even within one organization, separate teams likely face different sets of challenges. That’s why it’s important for leaders to find the games and activities that will address their group’s unique needs.
For example, a team from Pegasus Logistics recently spent an afternoon playing a high-energy, competitive game called “Street Smarts” in order to help employees build camaraderie with each other and improve their time management skills.
Meanwhile, a nonprofit preschool, The Community Schools of Park Cities, chose a collaborative game in which the team worked as a cohesive group to complete tasks and rescue their “kidnapped” boss. The collaborative nature of the game reinforced the strategic thinking and creative problem solving the team was hoping to improve.
A well-chosen, successful team building activity helps members develop the teamwork skills and personal bonds they need to enhance their productivity at work, and allows leaders to identify employees’ strengths and any issues they’ll want to work on in the office. Many leaders and teams who’ve participated in these activities have reported that they benefitted more from a few hours of games than from any company culture survey or workplace training.
Customizable team building games and activities can rejuvenate a staff in just a few hours, bringing employees together in a collaborative effort for a common goal. (And, of course, a little fun.) This experience can truly transform a workplace.
Chad Michael is the CEO of Dallas-based Adventure Games Team Building Group, founded in 2005. He has used creative ideas to help strengthen companies and their employee relationships through team building. www.adventuregamesinc.com