Am I wasting my time? How is team building effective?

Updated: Feb 16

Almost every business that employs more than one staff member puts their employees through team building. Overnight trips, challenging activities, fun and games, and competitions are all used to foster a collaborative environment. But what are the end goals here? And how is team building effective?

The point of team building is to bring a group of people closer together through a series of non-business activities that require effective communication, delegation, commitment, creativity, efficiency and support from each team member.

The idea is that building these skills and putting them into practice outside of a work environment will allow a team to be more prepared to use them in the working environment.

There are some more tangible results:

1. Regular team building helps build a positive team culture

For a team to do their best work, they need to work within a culture that allows positive relationships.

Regular team building creates a ‘safe zone’ where actions do not ultimately affect the performance of the team from a business perspective, meaning it’s more likely everyone’s voice will be heard and accepted. They can trial their skills before taking them back to the ‘real world’ of work.

2. Team building allows people to try out different roles

It’s not always the team leader that has the best ideas on how to build a bridge that supports a matchbox car using only newspaper and tape.

Stepping outside of the comfort zone can allow a shake up of the usual authorities and hierarchies, giving a chance for the less extroverted and ‘non leaders’ to shine. Teams that are aware and accepting of each others' signature themes and talents can work together to capitalize on these, rather than defaulting to "who's the boss."

3. Team building can be refreshingly different

Team building often lets participants step outside of their usual routines and experience something new. The change of scenery and is refreshing and helps to shake up the usual thinking.

Being removed from the usual place and method of working can help some ideas be developed that would never have seen the light of day back in the office.

4. Team building increases productivity

Developing a team’s skills in working together effectively will have an ultimate payoff for the business. Teams that effectively use their skills in communication, delegation and ideation can result in less time wastage and duplication of effort.

Time and effort are money, and using both efficiently increases productivity too. It’s a win-win.

5. Team building fosters creativity

Team building activities are often less formal, less relevant to the real world, and require out-of-the-box thinking to solve problems. Creativity is a skill that can be developed, and the more free thinking used the better it gets.

Participants bounce ideas off each other from their different disciplines, resulting in a unique solution that wouldn’t have appeared had they been working in isolation.

Team building done right is not a waste of time. It takes willingness to step outside of the comfort zone and accept that skills can always be improved, to be a little bit less serious, and to have fun with the team!

Are you looking at team building for your organization or group? I'd love to chat with you about building a strengths-based team culture! Get in touch to find out how CliftonStrengths is the tool to help teams acknowledge, accept and appreciate the uniqueness of humanity.