Team building exercises can be a great way to improve the entire office morale and productivity. Team building can be that one enlightened moment which transforms a group of people who are diligently watching the clock, into a team of warriors working towards mutual success. Often team building ends up as neither. Team building is an excellent venture if properly executed, but more often than not it ends up as a massive waste of time and money, and you sit with a group of people resenting each other on a whole new level. Why does team building fail?
Lacking in Meaning
Team building exercises are often outsourced to specialists in the field. These people might be brilliant at what they are offering, but they aren’t part of the team. They don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of the group, and they don’t know the members individually. The result is often that a generic program is followed to determine the state in which each department is in before another generic program is applied to solve the challenges which might not fit into the mould provided.
Although some people thrive on competing, that is only some people, and you might have a fair share of people in your team, who hates it. Hence they are already starting with negativity towards the event. Competition has a way of bringing out the worst side of people. This is not contributing at all to creating stronger team bonds. The game can furthermore create a division between the intense competitors and the weaklings, the winners and the losers.
The Lessons Taught
A team-building exercise should never be an event to show of skills and techniques which make the facilitator look smart. Whatever topic is being touched on during the sessions should be transferred to be applicable in everyday office scenarios. If not, the team will feel that they have wasted their time with learning things which don’t apply to them. Even if the skills taught were positive and significant, their effect will be short-lived.
For many people, the office space is a place to escape to from their personal lives. Not all employees share their details at the home where they spend their 9-5’s every day. Hence if the session entails that employees have to delve deeply into personal matters which they prefer not to share with their colleagues, that might leave them feeling exposed. Sitting in a group of people where you need to share the information which you don’t feel comfortable doing, can go someone feeling humiliated. This will result in the opposite effect than the desired outcome.
When team building is considered as a solution to some internal challenges within the working environment, it should never be a decision which is taken lightly. There are many ways how the entire exercise can result in ultimately the opposite effect and be detrimental to your office environment.