By: Marlene Cosain
Unity within a team of employees is critical to a business’s success. Specifically for small businesses teamwork is vital because it is required on a daily bases to perform efficiently and stay competitive. Your staff is the fuel that keeps your business running; needless to say, communication, cooperation and team work is key.
When in a fast paced environment, it is easy for tensions to arise between employees. This is where team-building activities and icebreakers can save your business and fortify your team. Team-building activities are a channel of communication between your staff on a more personal level. It establishes a bond between coworkers that transitions to their collaboration in the workplace. After all, your team must know how to work together and use one another to solve everyday problems. Team-building events and icebreakers improve communication because staff members learn how to solve problems together in a fun, laid-back environment. When there is trust amongst employees, issues are easier to solve and unnecessary disputes diminish. As teambonding.com states, “Organizations see greater and longer lasting benefits when an event is planned as part of a larger strategy to accomplish specific goals.” The point of team-building activities is for your staff to transition what they learned at the event to the workplace, but most importantly laugh and have fun together.
Icebreakers can be incorporated in many different ways. You can try taking a few minutes from your next meeting to include a fun activity. Icebreakers are a quick and easy way to release stress within your staff. Remember, team-building events and icebreakers can be inexpensive and quick, but the results are valuable. Here is a list of the top two icebreakers you can incorporate in your next meeting.
The Human Knot
This activity is a classic way of having your staff work closely together to give each other a hand, literally. To begin, form a circle with everyone facing each other. Each staff member should extend their right hand and shake with someone else in the circle. Without letting go, each member is to do the same with their left hand, but with a different team member than the first time. Then ask your team to go back to the state of the original untangled circle by unknotting themselves. Everyone will work together to come up with ways to return to their original state. This might include some employees ducking under or stepping over one another which is guaranteed for laughs.
Two Truths and a Lie
This activity is an excellent way to learn more about each other. For this activity only a paper and pen are necessary. To begin, each staff member must write on a piece of paper two facts about themselves that most coworkers do not know. By this means, everyone is learning more about each other and can often find things they have in common with one another. Then, a lie about themselves should also be included on the paper. Once everyone has written their truths and a lie, have one employee read off of their paper. By a raise of hands everyone is to raise their hand according to which statement they think is a lie, number one, two, or three. Then, go around the circle making sure each staff member has shared something unique about themselves.
By the same token, if you would like your staff to spend more time together, try putting together an event outside of the workplace every few months. Here are the top two team-building events that are efficient and cost-effective.
Scavenger hunts are an excellent way of having staff members cooperate and learn how to utilize their time effectively in a competitive setting. Scavenger hunts can take place in casinos, local malls or parks. Start by splitting your staff in half at random. Each team is given a list of items they are to collect within an hour’s scope. The team who completes the majority of the list within the given time wins. Things to include on lists vary but can include pictures with strangers, a catalogue book from a certain store, a coupon, a picture with a security guard and things of that nature. Scavenger hunts are fun and help with the delegation of time.
Sports events are a great way to work in teams. Whether you plan an ice skating night or a volleyball tournament at a nearby park, these types of activities enables each staff member to help one another. Chances are not everyone is a pro-figure skater or a softball captain, so this helps your team grow together in an area where not everyone excels in. Most may fall during a skating night, but the point is for one staff member to help another stand back up and try again. This is sure to include many laughs and release tension.
Trustworthiness, open-communication and reliability are imperative for a staff to be successful. Icebreakers and team-building events pave the way for this sort of relationship. There is no better way to release stress than to laugh at coworkers you are used to being serious and professional with and most importantly to laugh at yourself. Make sure that you participate. This helps your staff to be more comfortable, makes you more relatable and helps them stray from the always professional, boss image they may have of you. It is your job to ease the tension and create a productive, trustworthy, and respectful environment. A good laugh creates a happy staff. And remember, there is no I in team.