Teamwork is the most important and least developed soft skill. Arguably everything we do is dependent on other people. Performance and outcomes are dependent on how well the team works together.
Just like a flower, unless we give it constant attention and care, it will wither and die. The same goes for teamwork and relationships with teammates.
Too many talk about how important culture and teamwork are without prioritizing it and taking action. Here is a “training-wheels” edition of super simple, quick actions any size team or organization can take.
These team building activities can be done once a month or twice a month. Typically, they will take 10 minutes or less on an average size team. Human resources professionals can work with managers to execute these team building activities with their teams.
There are many more team building activities, but these are the least time consuming with the most impact.
Activities 1-4, you can go through these multiple times. In a team meeting, go around the group and have everyone do one of these in a meeting. It should take 10 minutes or less.
With 5-6, there are specific instructions below.
These four team building activities are quick-hitting (30 seconds to one minute per person) and will make an immediate impact. Research studies show being grateful and thanking others can increase team performance by 30%+.
There are TONS of research studies on this. Here is one. “The HAAS School of Business at UC Berkeley found that people who feel recognized are 23% more effective and productive, but those who feel like the people around them genuinely care are a whopping 43% more effective. Not only that, 66% of employees (76% for millennials) say they would “likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated.”
1) What are three things you are grateful for? (Take 30 seconds to one minute for each person. The group leader and/or most senior person goes first).
2) Who on the team do you want to thank for helping you in the recent past? What did they do and how did it help you? (Take one minute for each person. The group leader and/or most senior person goes first).
3) Text or email someone in the organization (but not on the team) to thank them for helping you. Be specific on what they did and how it helped you. You have five minutes to email/text the person.
4) Choose one question from Cards Against Mundanity. Go around the team and have everyone answer it.
Two Additional team building activities:
5) Have everyone give each team member a Thanksgiving Day a week before Thanksgiving. Write out a personal message to thank them for something or to express your gratitude towards them. Keep it to one to two paragraphs maximum.
6) Hidden Strengths Exercise
We all have great strengths, but we may not recognize or realize them. The easiest way to calibrate how we see ourselves versus how others see us is to explicitly ask them. This exercise does that. It helps you uncover what people see as your greatest strengths.
Step 1: Have everyone write down three positive qualities they see in their team members. For each person, write it down on a sheet and give it to the person. You don’t need to write your name on it.
Step 2: Have each person read through the words.
Step 3: Pick out three words that stand out to you. Perhaps they are words that have been repeated the most.
Step 4: Each person shares their three words and answers the following questions. Other team members should provide their thoughts and feelings during the discussion.
A) Why did you choose them?
B) How surprised are you about the words that were chosen by the team? Share why you were surprised or not surprised.
C) How can you put them into action more with your teammates? What specific actions can you take?
Step 5: Write down the words and put them in a picture frame on your desk to remind you to put these words into actions every single day. You can also just tape the piece of paper to your monitor.