Fostering Excellence
Bringing out the best in each of us

Four Elements of Effective Team Building Days 

Good leaders know that their organization is only as strong as the teams that comprise it. Teams are powerful and they move your business forward day to day, month to month and year to year. Strong teams don’t often come together on accident, however; effective team leaders strengthen their teams regularly and deliberately. Teams will go through a variety of stressors as they work to meet the vision of the organization, and these stressors need to be met with deliberate acts that nurture the team and strengthen it.

Conducting team building days is an important strategy to employ when building strong teams. Effective team building days get teams out of the office and bring them together to interact in different settings and in ways that break up habitual social patterns. Good team building days break up routines, give a reprieve from the day to day drudgery, and provide venues for teams to interact with each other in different situations. Specifically, team building days should allow teams to either play or serve together, train together, break bread together and socially interact together:

Make Time for Building
Social Capital 

Thriving in Distributed Work Environments 

Play Together – Above all, team building days should be fun. These should be days that your team looks forward to; they should not be punishing events. Find out what your team likes to do for fun and get them out of the office to do those activities. To the extent possible, these activities should be interactive. If you go and watch a movie, your team will not be interacting very much. Ultimate Frisbee or mini-golf will give your team many more interaction opportunities. Part of the point of this day is to get your team interacting in different venues, away from office politics or problems.

Serve Together – Working on a service project together is another great venue to build the team. Work with your team to find out where they love to pay it forward or serve, then get together to support those causes. Not only will this provide a very positive setting for building team relationships, as a leader you can involve yourself in the passions of your team members.

Break Bread- Having a team lunch also helps maximize social interactions in an enjoyable setting. After spending time on a sport or service project, a team lunch can round out the experience in a relaxing, care-free environment that maximizes conversation. This will further strengthen team bonds and provide an activity that some team members might prefer to a sport. Team lunches tend to round out everyone’s social experience in positive ways.

Train Together – Team building days are great opportunities to do training without the distractions of your day-to-day activities. After a morning of fun and breaking bread, the afternoon is a good time for a little team training and perhaps an early out. Take some time to evaluate what your team’s training needs are and plan a short (an hour or so) training event that will sharpen their skills. Instead of doing the training each time as the leader, spread the training opportunities throughout the team. This will further build lateral bonds within your team rather than having everyone depend solely on the leader for their training. If you are doing team building days monthly, this provides you with an opportunity to train very regularly.
  
Your team needs to spend more time together if it is going to become an effective, cohesive unit. Not more time at the office, rather more time together in settings that break up their normal dynamics. Effective team building days strengthen team social bonds, break down barriers, and can be used to ensure the team is trained. Get together, have fun, train and break bread-regularly-you will all be the better for it!

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of Fosteringexcellence.org. He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter, @fosteringexcellence on Facebook, and @fosteringexcellen on Instagram.
    

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