How to Do Team Building Exercises

Three Methods:Teach Children to Work TogetherEncourage Teenagers to See the Positive in TeammatesStrengthen Teamwork Skills in Adults

Team building exercises are used in educational, professional and recreational environments to strengthen people's abilities to work together. The goal of specific exercises may be to improve communication skills, teach effective goal achievement strategies and/or strengthen problem-solving skills. Exercises must be age-appropriate with a predefined objective. Here are some strategies for doing team building exercises.

Method 1
Teach Children to Work Together

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    Explain to children the importance of working together. As they cooperate with teammates, they help one another to win a game or complete a task.
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    Use a team building game that asks children to guide one another. For example, working in pairs, each child can guide his/her blindfolded teammate to find objects that are scattered throughout the room.
    • Ask children to talk about what made the game challenging or fun. Guide them to use words that focus more on their feelings than what another child did or didn't do.

Method 2
Encourage Teenagers to See the Positive in Teammates

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    Define the goals of the team building activity. The objective may be to improve relationships between group members by highlighting the strengths of each participant.
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    Introduce low-risk team building exercises. Start with icebreaker activities that allow teenagers to get to know one another. For example, ask all participants to write down a personal strength on a piece of paper and toss the paper into the middle of the table. The positive qualities of each person can then be written on the board for everyone to see.
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    Ask teens to write down one positive attribute about everyone in the group. This allows each participant to focus on the strengths of others and themselves.

Method 3
Strengthen Teamwork Skills in Adults

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    Determine the objective of the team building exercise. The desire to feel heard and appreciated exists in all age groups. Team building exercises for adults typically focus on improved collaboration, decision making and communication.
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    Choose an exercise that addresses observed challenges. For example, a project team might have a hard time working together, with each person focused only on his/her own tasks. In this case, the exercise could focus on an activity that involves relying on one another.
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    Divide large groups into smaller ones. For example, if working with a 20-member team, break them into 4 groups of 5 people each.
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    Ask the small groups to accomplish a task together. One example is to work together in a small group to build an object. Provide wood, a small saw, glue, a hammer and nails and ask the groups to construct a bridge.
    • Reconvene as a large group to discuss the experience. Each group can present its bridge and explain the process of creating it. Some people may have stood aside; others may have taken charge.
    • Ask team members to write down their reactions to the team building exercise. A common reaction in such exercises is for individual members to downplay the amount of conflict that occurred to minimize group embarrassment. Writing out the feelings and thoughts that accompanied the activity generally helps people to identify their personal challenges in a group setting.
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    Repeat team building exercises with assigned leaders. To encourage leadership skills throughout the team, assign the participants who ordinarily sit back to serve as leaders.

Article Info

Categories: Team Sports