During team building activities, participants experience challenges, camaraderie, recognition, and fun. But what do they take away? After the shared laughter and the high-fives, what do they bring back home and to the workplace from that experience?
According to Roy Charette, a leader in the fields of team building and professional development training, and managing partner at Best Corporate Events, the specific takeaways are many, but fall into two main types.
High-performing teams require a mix of skills and attributes: technical, analytical, organizational, and social skills combined with energy, passion, creativity, and engagement.
Team building programs help individuals to better understand what they bring to the team as well as the unique strengths and contributions of co-workers. It builds communication, collaboration, appreciation, and relationships.
As Roy describes it, “In our debriefs, we ask: ‘What have you brought to teams you’ve worked with? And what can people count on you for?’ Facilitated team building activities and initiatives allow individuals to highlight their strengths and specific attributes, giving others an opportunity to recognize and appreciate each other as valuable and contributing team members.”
Teams also have an opportunity to identify areas for potential improvement and gaps in team-related performance. The activities act as a vehicle to delve into rich process discussions on the steps that can be taken to improve areas of weakness—revisiting communication systems, for example.
When a team building activity really resonates with a participant, the lessons they experience are often the “24/7” variety in that they apply to all aspects of both personal and professional life. Enhanced active listening skills, for example, will transcend the workplace and brighten interactions at home with friends and family
Participants will sometimes feel so connected to the lessons from a particular activity that they want to replicate that experience with their family, church group, or other organization they are associated with. It reminds them of a struggle they are having or a problem they need to solve outside of work.
In Roy’s words, “I’m always giving away props, card decks, or other materials to people who feel connected to the activities and the value in what we did. I’ll answer their questions and give them guidance on facilitating the exercise with their own groups.”
Participants in team building programs take away lessons pertaining to high-performing team attributes as well as lessons specific to themselves as individuals. Organizations that invest in team building give their employees opportunities to grow as people, not just to be better workers. The payoff comes in both higher team performance and increased connectedness and commitment among employees.