Why One-Off Team Building Exercises Just Don’t Work

Wondering why your team building exercises aren’t working?  To get results, try smart team building that’s developed by professionals and based on sound educational principles.

Why One-Off Team Building Exercises Just Don't WorkIf you’ve ever had to suffer through trust falls, ropes courses, mock therapy sessions and other misguided yet popular team building exercises, then you’ll be glad to know there’s a better, smarter way.

When you’re aiming to build a stronger team that works better together and you’d like to see results, nothing is going to happen unless you’re working off a long-term strategy of building trust.  Trust takes time and it actually takes a little understanding of human psychology which many of us simply don’t have.  Your employees may simply not have the skills it takes to be able to trust each and every person they work with.

That’s where carefully constructed, effective team building exercises come in.  The best programs will give your employees the tools they need to develop trust on their own terms, not yours.

Good Team Building Exercises Give People the Tools They Need to Develop Trust at Their Own Pace

When colleagues are forced into awkward “trust-building” situations that haven’t been firmly rooted in a larger program of education and self-awareness, they’re being asked to place trust in each other with no grounds for doing so.

  • Share you most intimate fears with your co-workers?  No way!
  • Tell your team members what you dislike about them the most?  Seriously?
  • Hold hands with your cubicle mates?  You’ve got to be kidding.

Those terrifying scenarios are examples of real-life team building exercises that happen every day around corporate America.  They’ve evolved from a trend that started 20 years ago but somewhere along the way started veering in the wrong direction.

Yet these types of so-called “team building exercises” persist today, decades after they first came into vogue.  What we now know about building trust is that it’s not going to happen during a one-off game that’s completely severed from any sort of learning process whatsoever.

What Team Building Should Look Like

Team building should incorporate skills-based learning that leaves your employees smarter.  They may practice these skills during activities that resemble those stand-alone team building exercises we all roll our eyes at, but when they’re based on a solid foundation of learning, everything is different.

The goal of well-designed team building exercises is to foster an understanding of personality types and how they contribute to the workplace.  It’s also important that participants in team-building exercises can understand the parallel between the exercises and the office.  Trust falls?  There really is no parallel!