Leadership Inspirations Facilitator Content

Teambuilding 101

To learn to help your group grow and develop into a high performing team with teambuilding

 

TEAMBUILDING BASICS

What is teambuilding?

Teambuilding can be defined as an experience that a group must go through to grow and problem solve, both individually and as a group. Usually, teambuilding involves some activity as well as a lesson that the group can walk away with as they try to achieve success together. Teambuilding is about getting your group members to interact in new and unique ways while in a safe space. This could be an experiential activity where the group has to overcome obstacles and accomplish a goal together, or it could be a bonding activity that is used to deepen relationships and build trust between team members. The objective is to have the members of the group go through an experience together that provides greater insight into how each other thinks, feels, and acts.

Why does my group need teambuilding?

Teambuilding helps groups move through the stages of the group development model so that they can leverage their unique group dynamic in order to perform at their highest potential. If a group doesn’t have an understanding of how they work together, then achieving their desired results or outcomes becomes difficult. Building your team is crucial if you are going to be able to set and achieve actual goals together. In other words, ‘you play how you practice’. Teambuilding allows groups this time and ability to ‘practice’ how they will ‘play’ or work together in the real world.

Facilitation and Teambuilding

When considering facilitation and teambuilding, it is beneficial to look at facilitation as the whole outline of the session and teambuilding as just one integral part of that session. When used as a supplemental experience in a facilitation, teambuilding creates the foundation for the group and its individual members to learn necessary lessons. For this reason, teambuilding provides a unique and necessary opportunity for the group to develop. It’s important for facilitators to be intentional and to have a clear purpose for teambuilding with their groups. However, it’s also important for facilitators to remember that teambuilding is about the group’s lived experience and not what the facilitator hopes that they will learn or get out of the experience. No matter what, the group will walk away from the experience having learned something about themselves, their group, or how they work together.

Instructions and Rules

When providing rules and instructions for a teambuilder, it is important to first understand the activity you are doing. This seems obvious, but if you are leading the group and can’t explain the activity, it would be tough to expect your group to be successful. Explain the instructions clearly and make sure the group understands the rules for the activity. When you are teambuilding, you may have group members that will try clarify rules and instructions by asking lots of questions. It’s important not to over-explain the activity or give them too much information as this can take away from their experience. The point is for the group to learn by doing! Additionally, as the activity begins and progresses, new questions may come up that need to be answered. Your response to these questions will impact the outcome of the activity so consider your group and the activity you are doing when responding. Remember, teambuilding activities are meant to challenge your groups!

Debriefing

Having your group work through an activity is only effective if you are able to capitalize on the lessons they learn from that activity. Debriefing is a conversation about the experience that is guided by the facilitator to help the group members learn from the activity they have recently completed. An effective debrief provides an inclusive space to have a discussion with the group about the activity, to reflect on how they performed, analyze their work as a group, and take actionable steps using what they’ve learned from the experience moving forward. Debriefing is an essential and defining factor for any teambuilding experience and should not be skipped!

 

KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL TEAMBUILDING

  1. Be intentional when choosing a teambuilding activity
  2. Understand your activity and how it works
  3. You are the authority when it comes to instructions and rules
  4. Set the tone – the group feeds off their leader’s energy and mood
  5. Stay focused on the group during the activity in case the group has questions or needs to take a timeout
  6. Remember the point of teambuilding is growth and problem solving, this means that groups will need to overcome challenges to succeed (as much as you may want to, helping a group can hinder their ability to critically think and work together)
  7. Be ready to change course and adapt if the activity or group require it
  8. Your group doesn’t have the ‘win’ the activity. Not completing a challenge is just as important of a lesson as ‘winning’ or being successful.
  9. Always debrief an activity to help the group learn something from their experience
  10. Be safe and have fun!

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