Team Building Activities: The Secret to High-Performing Teams?
It’s no secret that the world’s leading companies have brilliant, productive teams working for them. The mix of skills and personalities within these companies are incredibly diverse, strong personalities that either click or clash. Add to this an often loose, free structure, and you could have chaos brewing in the workforce. So how do Google and the other leading firms get their teams to run like smoothly?
The process of staff development is exactly that – a process
High-performance teams are an incredible asset to any workplace. In most cases, these teams don’t organically form themselves – staff really have to work at it. By taking cues from fields of neuroscience and psychology, we can glean insight into the elements and processes that help to shape a team that will fuel a business to the next level. As Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is the success”.
Psychological research on teamwork has shown that team productivity drops when the number of people within the team grows. Instead, it’s small, close-knit teams that do best; kind of like having a work family. Within these small teams, the social needs of individuals are fulfilled, which helps with navigating the workplace and getting work done in the process.
Productive and successful teams are made up of people that have the great interpersonal skills and qualities of::
- Clear communication
- Emotional Intelligence
- A sense of psychological security within the team
- Inspiration, which leads to motivation, and powers a high-performance team
In 2016. Forbes surveyed more than 66.000 team members in order to get an idea of the elements that make up a high-performance team. They found that high-performance teams had leaders who were inspirational, supportive, trustworthy, resolved conflicts as the came up, and communicated the vision of the team members’ mission on a constant basis to keep them on track.
These qualities are the fuel that lights the fire and provides energy for team members to find their own motivation and work autonomously to reach the end goal. Individuals’ personalities and the way they click (or don’t) within teams adds another dimension to the recipe for success within teams. Personalities are more important than skills, experience, and technical knowledge when it comes to figuring out the team members’ roles within a team – which is why it’s important to really get to know one another when working together.
The importance of training and development in the workplace
Employees are initially hired to contribute their skills and potential to their new bosses. Many of these employees are ambitious, hardworking, and enjoy changes and challenges within their roles. As such, they’re looking for a company that values them and offers them a chance to progress, using different skills and facets of their personalities.
Tracey Maurer. Director of the University of Vermont’s Centre for Business Studies says:“People are not retaining their employees because employees aren’t getting the professional development they need, and they feel they’re stuck. They get recruited into a position, and they have a lot to offer, and then they’re pigeon-holed doing the same thing, but they want to do other things, and the company says, ‘You can’t do that. You have IT skills, so you should keep doing that.’ When instead, a company should be saying, ‘Yes, your IT skills are relevant to your current job, but we value you here, and you should learn leadership skills to combine with your IT skills so you can be part of a growing team.”
These “other” skills shine when employees have the opportunity to change their environment for the day. Different personality traits and characteristics are unearthed through a variety of situations and contexts. When a team of employees is working together on a shared goal within these situations, the leaders, helpers, and workers within the team naturally surface and shape a different perception of team members within the office, bringing the team closer together.
Staff development team building activities contribute to a high performing team
Team building activities are shared experience and challenges outside of the office that brings help to shape high performing teams within the workplace. A number of studies have proven the effectiveness of activities such as 3D games and puzzles in developing trust and communication between teammates, especially task-based trust.
Teams get the most benefit from a program of team building activities that offer a diverse range of experience. Different activities offer a platform for individuals to test their capabilities in a variety of situation. When a team is given an activity to do that has an end goal. And is very different from their daily roles, different facets of their personalities and behaviors show through. For example, the quiet, hardworking team member you never really know might be a natural leader outside of their role. Or could have an amazing talent for art, writing, or cooking.
Having held a variety of team competitions for various businesses, we can attest to the effectiveness of these competitions for ourselves. Teams come away at the end of each competition better connected, and with different perspectives of each other. Most importantly, their team leaders report positive results within the workforce – which is exactly what we love to hear!