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Team building exercises that aren't crap?

(57 Posts)
SnapD Tue 06-Feb-07 18:49:36

I do struggle being the boss

Atm my staff are all doing good work but independantly from each other, without considering each others action/duties/tasks

How can I make them into a team - I would really like them to be more considerate of each other and to think about how there action impact on the others

Any ideas...I wondered if a team building exercise would help

Scootergirl Tue 06-Feb-07 18:50:20

Make them all swap jobs?

Whizzz Tue 06-Feb-07 18:54:09

ooo I hate team building things - people always end up bitching about each other . Getting one another to think about what each other person actually does / needs from the team is better than building things out of straws IMO!

sweetheart Tue 06-Feb-07 18:55:06

I don't think there are any tbh. Probably best to just take everyone for a meal and provide lots of booze so everyone gets to know each other better.

SnapD Tue 06-Feb-07 18:56:29

They all do the same job - it would be so much nicer if they were a little more considerate of each other

I agree - i don't like TB exercises - buty I couldn't think of anything else??

KezzaG Tue 06-Feb-07 19:26:43

What level are they at? I have done a few and am trying to think what actually worked. I think whatever you do the main thing is to actually review the TB events and what people learnt rather than just go back to their desks after it. And they rally only work if there are at least a few people who are committed to getting something out of it.

one I can remember is to get a ball of string and start off by passing it to someone in the team who you rely on and explain why. So you would pass it to the admin person and say without them you could not get the letters out. They then pass it to the phone person and say without them they would not get the details to write the letters. This goes on and on until everyone is joined together by lots of string. Cue your lecture about how everyone works togeher etc etc.

Or ask each member of the team to tell you somrthing about themselves that their colleagues should know ie if they have children, pets etc. then create a team quiz with a mixure of these personal questions, work related qauestions and general knowledge. IME everyone loves quizes and you could even split the team into 2 or run a challenge against another team in the company.

Give everyone in he team a peice of A4 paper and each person writes their name at the top. The paper gets passed round the team and everyone has to write one positive thing about the person whose name it at the top, it can be anything from has really nice hair to something work related. Each time the paper gets folded over and passed to the next person and so on. When the original person gets their paper back they get to read nice things that their team have written about them and feel valued etc.

Or, arrange a team lunch but everyone has to make or bring something themselves.

Could you set some team targets around productivity and quality with a meaningful reward at the end? It works well if people are willing to work together and create some unity and help each other suceed.

And finally, agree with going to the pub and getting drunk. I think you are far more likely to work well with someone you know and like.

I will try to find my old books on teambuilding and get some other ideas, but god knows where they all are.

smittenkitten Tue 06-Feb-07 19:27:56

good book called "5 dysfunctions of a team" by patrick lencioni might give you some ideas.

i had a similar issue with my team - all independently good at their jobs, but very transactional with each other and no emotional engagement with the "team". We used a psychometric tool called Hogan to talk to each other about what we're like and what our values are. you could use something else like MBTI or NEO as a vehicle for opening up.

Blandmum Tue 06-Feb-07 19:28:23

All the ones I have been on were shite.

Including the 'Its a Knock out day' some jack ass organised. I could hardly walk for a week. And one poor bloody woman from the admin department ended up with a fractured skull!

marymillington Tue 06-Feb-07 19:30:34

go to the pub together

Blandmum Tue 06-Feb-07 19:32:20

Top tip from the best bosses I have worked with.

Buy cakes....sounds mad, but the two best people I have ever worked with did this.

delegate and then trust them

Go out for a drink/dinner

Blandmum Tue 06-Feb-07 19:32:42

all the rest is a load of cobblers IMHO

WWWCampbellBlack Tue 06-Feb-07 19:32:56

Do they know what the whole team's strategic objectives are?
How that fits with the wider dept/company/group objectives?
What you and they are being measured on? And how they are doing against that?
Do you hold a weekly team meeting?
If so, they should be responsible for being chairperson/note taker alternately imo
Do you ever take them out as a team?
Do you have awards/bonuses based on performance?

I think all these things are what makes a good team and a good leader of a team: making sure everyone knows what they have to do and how they contribute as well as knowing how they are doing against those objectives.

I also think:
you need to recognise and reward good performance
you need to be aware that different things motivate different people
also, the smallest things can bother people: sometimes they're more concerned with the location of their desk than the size of their pay rise

So I guess I think you need to think about these things before a team building exercise. Hope there's something in there that helps.

WWWCampbellBlack Tue 06-Feb-07 19:34:15

Completely agree with 'delegate and then trust them' but I think I do 'delegate' then check they're doing what I wanted and the result is the one I need and THEN, when it consistently is, then I trust them.

SenoraPostrophe Tue 06-Feb-07 19:34:35

I think in the circs a role p[laying exercise would be a good idea. make up a job and get them to discuss the steps they'd take to get it done, and draw a chart or something to show who'd do what. or use a set problem solving role play (there's one about being stuck in the desert which i liked)

SenoraPostrophe Tue 06-Feb-07 19:36:04

lol at "strategic objectives" btw.

do you mean "do they know wgat they're supposed to be doing?"

WWWCampbellBlack Tue 06-Feb-07 19:39:14

Sorry senora, everyone, have just come from work, have my bollocks speak head on

sort of, but I mean things that fit into longer term plans, so if the long term plan is to I don't know, cut costs by cutting staff (I originally put cut headcount but feared you'd take the piss!) then the smaller tasks the team are doing need to take the longer term goals into consideration and need to be working towards that, not be just merrily doing their own thing in isolation.

SenoraPostrophe Tue 06-Feb-07 19:49:40

it's ok. made me laugh.

you're other points are good though.

slayerette Tue 06-Feb-07 19:55:56

I take my schoolkids to a forest near us which organises team building activities - building stuff out of forest materials, learning how to build and light a fire, map reading, etc. The kids are teenagers and start off thinking they'll be too cool for all that but have a real laugh once the day gets going. Maybe something outdoorsy and physical in that way is better than office stuff. Or you could do one of those raft building days and then take them all to the pub to dry off!

Tortington Tue 06-Feb-07 20:04:06

whip them

team building is shite. stop it immediatley.

you must have regular 1-2-1's and regualr team meetings everyone should be clear of their objectives. there should be a team objective or team mission and everyone should be clear where thye wit within that team mission and the years objectives.

everyone if doing the same job should be able to cover for the other person.

you should offer training - and do the 1-2-1's in a local coffee place not the office.

you should ask about personal considerations which may impact upon the work
and if possible give everyone a lead role in something

so forinstance - in our team we have lead consultant, lead trainer, lead resident&governance issues person.

i haven't read full thread so dont know line of work but you could have lead by areas or certain account responsabilities.

this precipitates communication as in team meetings everyone has to feed back on their area of work. which means if someone else has been doing work within their field they should know about it.

pointydog Tue 06-Feb-07 20:08:37

I think you need an Away Day rather than team building. You don't want them to socially bond with each other particularly, you don;t want them to have fun. You want them to understand what their colleagues do every day and how roles are inter related.

You need an Away Day where management set the agenda (with wider input to empower the whole team of course ). Aim is to decide on company goals, each team/individual then coming up with how they can work together to reach those goals.

Proper work, not pissing about with paintballs.

pointydog Tue 06-Feb-07 20:11:23

I'm being interrupted left right and centre here - but yeah, serious sort of stuff like what custardo has said

no pissing with string

pianist Tue 06-Feb-07 20:13:14

Don't do it! Teambuilding things are always a load of sh*t.

Nightynight Tue 06-Feb-07 20:42:27

..but outings are nice. We had a day sledging in the Alps, it probably was a team building exercise, but it was great fun anyway.

slayerette Tue 06-Feb-07 20:48:27

Sorry - didn't mean to offend by suggesting team-building exercises on team-building thread. Shall shuffle off and start my own 'pissing about with string and paintballs thread'

Tortington Tue 06-Feb-07 20:53:58


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