A lot of team building is fun and helps people bond and have a good time together. The missing ingredient is the stuff that's below the surface: how people think and behave long-term. When you're looking to implement deeper team building in your workplace it helps to think about what really brings people together and how you can maintain positive momentum. Here are some practical ideas to help you build a meaningful program.
Look at People's Thinking
Individuals' thought processes can significantly affect how successful your team building activities are. Imagine a leader who doesn't really believe in bringing people together or enjoys power differentials or giving orders. Think about the employee who believes that nobody will ever listen to him or her so why bother trying to collaborate. Consider the staff member who remembers the team building activities in the past that didn't lead to anything. The key to building team cohesiveness is to introduce a new way of thinking and behaving that supports group interaction and collaboration. Imagine how your workplace would run if people genuinely believed they could work together, create a level playing field, share information freely, communicate well and solve problems.
Focus on Behaviors
The way people behave determines how productive your workplace is and how well people collaborate. Take some time to help people get rid of behaviors that don't work (gossip, personal issues, power struggles, competition) and replace them with approaches that do such as: listening, asking open-ended questions or problem-solving.
Shift from Being Reactive to Proactive
The standard way of doing business is to react to what people say or do. These reactions often have nothing to do with work, as when a leader works out some personal issue on his employees. The key to building more successful teams is to implement ongoing training that helps employees deal with any challenge that comes their way and creates a culture where positive interaction is valued. People are much more proactive when they know how to stop reacting to people and events.
Try these ideas and you'll shift your focus from superficial interactions to more meaningful ones. The key in effective team building is to move away from encouraging superficial relationships to diving into the thoughts and behaviors that are under the surface. What will you do to promote deeper team building?