How to Avoid the Team Building Stigma

How to Avoid the Team Building StigmaWorking at a team building company, it’s easy to put on your rose-colored glasses and believe that everyone finds team building as fun and interesting as we do. However, despite the thousands of converts whose minds we’ve changed, we’re well aware of the stigma that team building carries and how it can elicit eye rolls from more cynical employeesor those that have had bad experiences with cheesy games, over-the-top facilitators, and heavy-handed metaphors such as the universally loathed trust fall.

While we’ve got an excellent track record for winning over the most skeptical participants, we realize as a manager it’s sometimes hard to get your team enthused. Below you’ll find some tips for ensuring your group embraces your team building efforts.

Get to know and understand your team

When planning a team building event, it’s essential that you have a solid understanding of the people that comprise your team. It’s important to have a sense of what their style is, what their mood is, and how they work with each other. Are they brash and bold, a group of high-functioning type A personalities? Or are they a more introverted group of engineers? Perhaps it’s a cross-department group with a large spectrum of personalities. These bits of information factor into the next important point, choosing activities.

Choose appropriate activities

Selecting the right type of activities for your group is essential. An uber-extroverted and competitive sales team might love something that gets them competing in a fun and boisterous way. However, this could be a terrible idea for a group of architects who are more introspective and have no interest in calling attention to themselves. Likewise, if you have a mixed group, it’s probably best to look for activities that allow individuals to focus on their strengths. This could mean small, team-oriented events that provide opportunities for some members to present and others to support the presentation through the construction of props.

Don’t call it team building

Euphemisms exist for a reason, and typically it’s because the original word gaining an off-putting connotation. While we, of course, love team building, we know that for some it has taken on a less than savory vibe. If you fear that this is the case for your team, then we suggest using the name of the actual activity itself. So, instead of saying that we’re going on a team building exercise, say that you’re going to get everyone out of the office for a little competitive game as a break from work. Focus on the activity, not what you think participants will get out of it – that will come on its own.

Doug Ramsay

Doug handles the marketing and web presence for Adventure Associates. If he's not geeking-out with the latest, greatest web marketing tools, then you'll find him swirling and sipping his way through wine country.

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