What are some good ways to build team spirit? If you’ve found this page then you’re probably wondering.
You may already know that team building is critical to your success. And you may already have team members who work well together. But even when all the basic ingredients are present, you have to take time to find ways to keep your team’s spirit positive.
Teams that forge a common bond and that share positive experience work together better when things area going well; and when things are tough.
So it’s a good idea to have ongoing ways to build team spirit so you can keep your group humming along.
Here are some activities I’ve found to be effective.
1. Intrapreneurship, a la Shark Tank
Intrapreneurship is a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a larger business or organization. These are your ideal employees. They’re proactive, imaginative, self-motivated, and take the initiative to innovate.
But in order for employees to have motivation to do the above, you have to provide a work culture that supports individual thinking and creative effort. When you take time to spread the power of intrapreneurship among teams, you’ll boost your entire organization’s engagement and innovation.
One of the best ways to do this is to hold a recurring event, modeled after the TV show Shark Tank. At this event, teams of employees pitch ideas that they’ve spent some time developing. This allows groups to be creative together and to gain enthusiasm through developing a concept they’re excited about. It also enables friendly competition and incentive, as groups compete to have the best idea for a given time period.
This is a win-win situation. You get a fresh batch of ideas to strengthen your company and employees get to work together on a proposal that could become integral to the company’s future development.
2. Game Tournament
Fun goes hand in hand with team bonding. And positive experience helps to build engagement. When we’re having genuine fun, we’re not bored. And when we’re not bored, we’re all able to better tune into each other and work toward a common mission.
Playing games with work teams creates opportunity to let loose and have fun while getting to know each other better. Invite employees to suggest favorite games they may want to bring in for this activity. It’s best to get suggestions beforehand and have a few people preselect which games you’ll play at each session.
Bonus points for selecting collaborative board games like Forbidden Island, Pandemic, or Betrayal at House on the Hill. Instead of pitting players against each other, these games force team members to work together to beat the game, collaborating and thinking creatively to pool resources.
If you’re not sure you can sell the office on the traditional types of games above, you can take a different approach with a competitive game that creates two main teams. The game is called Werewolf and I’m not just making this up! It’s out there as a traditional and effective exercise.
In this game, there’s a moderator and a group of players. Some players are villagers and some are werewolves. Werewolves team up to pick off critical players, while villagers have to determine who is a werewolf.
This game hinges on an imaginative moderator and a group of players willing to dive into the fun of it. In the hands of a good storyteller and a strong moderator, it’s a great way to have fun and learn how your teammates can work together to beat the odds.
3. Team Lunches
While many of the ideas in this list are programs or events you’ll need to spend some time planning, there’s also value in simply getting together over a meal without a lot of pre-planning.
A simple and effective way to build team spirit is over lunch. I think it’s a good idea to get out of the office for lunch. But if you have a nice campus, then bringing lunch outside during good weather can really shift energy and create opportunity to bond.
One study by Cornell University found that firefighters who cooked and ate together during shifts performed better than those that didn’t. You don’t need to cook in a communal kitchen every day! But for example, a team outing to a pizza place down the street provides opportunity to get away from work and socialize.
If you want to take this a step further, consider doing some formal team building activities during lunch
4. Story Slams
Storytelling has been around forever. Families pass down knowledge and traditions through stories. Children learn at school through stories. And work teams can benefit from sharing story time together.
Story slams are a way for everyone to learn more about each other. Through storytelling, you’ll learn something new about your co-workers as they reveal something about themselves they probably wouldn’t ordinarily share.
You can facilitate a story slam yourself or bring in a professional to lead your group. Here are some DIY tips: Start by providing categories for topics such as work meltdowns, a great or an awful sports experience, a worst or best date or the dream vacation.
The possibilities are endless. Good stories always involve a splash of drama and usually a bit of exaggeration. People won’t be bored. In fact, typically the stories just get better and better as each unfolds.
5. Music and Song
It doesn’t take much convincing to understand how songs build team spirit. Whether it’s a high school football game, professional hockey or basketball, songs play a vital role in every team event.
Music and song is one way to get your entire team (or even your entire company) motivated and engaged. Everyone speaks the language of song. And everyone has favorite songs that are part of their lives. So it’s easy to engage even the self proclaimed non-creative types in a team building song program.
Disclaimer; music based programs are what we do here at Kidbilly Music. But there’s an objective reason, these types of programs work. They incorporate all the key elements of building team spirit in genuinely engaging ways, harnessing the power and universal appeal of music.
Ongoing Ways to Build Team Spirit
Don’t kid yourself – a once a year team event won’t change much about your workplace dynamic. You need to incorporate ongoing activities to build and maintain positive team spirit.
Even high performing teams need to regroup, to recharge and refresh. Try some, or ideally all, of the activities above. And if you get good response from your team, don’t be afraid to repeat!