Team Building

Team bonding and laughing

Team building exercises are tools used by leaders on sports teams, in schools and the workplace, as well as in not-for-profit organizations; all with the goal of increased team performance. Bonding exercises, complex simulations, as well as over-night team-building trips are all helpful means to this end. Although many teambuilding exercises are enjoyable as well as educational, teambuilding exercises are not the same as “team recreation” activities which are strictly meant for fun.


When team building, your main goal is to increase the members of your team’s understanding of the dynamic they have as a group, and how they can work best together. Group work and teamwork are not the same things, when working as a team the members are all accountable for each other’s successes and mistakes, resulting in a shared work product. The advantages of team building are virtually endless, but a few examples include:

  • More flexibility in their abilities and skills
  • Increased productivity among those who have done team building exercises (vs. those who do not share their new-found skills)
  • Individuals are more valuable in times of organizational adjustments
  • This approach encourages development and improvement at both the team and individual level
  • Accomplishes tasks that are more beneficial because its focus is on group goals


Team building exercises come in a variety of forms from games for children to challenges that involve complex tasks designed for group performance improvement by addressing the specific needs of its members. Encourage members to spend some time together through social activities of a simple nature and help your team discover how best to communicate with one another based on how they approach problems and how they work together as a team.

Motivation, communication, leadership, and negotiation are interpersonal skills rather than technical skills. This means that although these skills are not involved directly with the current task, they are tools that contribute to the betterment of team performance. Team building exercises strive to achieve a cohesive unit for your team, achieving effective teamwork and completing tasks more efficiently.

There are four different types of team building exercises, which each have their own goals in mind:

  • The goal of a communication exercise is to highlight the benefit of great communication skills when involved in team tasks or in resolving past communication errors. Think of a communication exercise as a verbal problem-solving task.
  • A decision-making or problem-solving exercise’s goal is to encourage creative thinking for hard-to-solve problems, this is achieved by creating tasks with unapparent solutions. As creative thinking is one of the most desirable traits in an employee (from an employer perspective) it makes sense that problem-solving exercises are the most common type.
  • The goal of adaptability or planning exercises is to show the importance of simultaneously planning and remaining flexible in case things do not go as planned. The skills associated with these team-building exercises are essential when working on individual parts of a group task.
  • A trust exercise’s main goal is to foster trust among members of team. Due to the different levels of trust, each of your members might have for one another and their various levels of comfort; this can be a very daunting task.


If your team’s goals dictate that their skills are not where they need to be, you will need to have them strategize to close this gap (‘gap-closure’). Use the feedback from a team assessment; identify the gaps of individuals, as well as those shared among the group; and design a strategy to close those gaps. Remember that team awareness will stem from team bonding, and for your team to feel comfortable talking about each other’s weaknesses (and their own weaknesses) they might need to utilize the knowledge that can be taken away from the trust exercises (see above). The improvement actions taken after this assessment occurs would be called either organizational development or team development. Personality assessments among members can serve as another way of helping teammates to better understand their own working style and the working style of their teammates. Either your human resources staff, or a company that specializes in the execution of teambuilding exercises can implement these strategies and put you, your company, your team, or your classroom on the fast-track to success.