The Science Behind Great Team-Building Activities

Managing people isn’t easy. Keeping tabs on everyone, administering pay and benefits, ensuring knowledge gaps are filled and that your workforce is happy is a monumental task. What is the science behind team-building activities?

Of course, people management software makes this easier. However, there are still many extra ‘add-ons’ that need to be in place. You want to ensure that teams of people are working as effectively and enthusiastically as possible.

One of these extra add-ons is team-building activities. ‘Team building’ days are something you’ll see happening in offices up and down the country. Beloved by HR teams, team building activities offer employees to get to know one another better. Also, they can draw on their key skills, build confidence and get them working as a cohesive unit.

But is there any science behind it? Do team-building activities really work, and should your business be hosting them?

Does Team Building Activities Actually Work?

Well, according to this article, a team of researchers set about to find out if team-building activities actually work. They looked at four team-building components: goal setting, interposed relations, problem-solving, and role clarification. The correlations they identified suggested that there is indeed a positive effect across all the team-building components. Interestingly, goal setting and role clarification were the two most strongly improved factors by these activities.

So, there is certainly scientific evidence that team-building activities work.

How to Measure These Activities?

Furthermore, team-building days actually give businesses a chance to measure things they typically consider to be unquantifiable. For example, high-performing teams typically demonstrate energy, creativity, and shared commitment. And all of these are hard to ‘measure’ in a scientific sense.

However, it is actually possible to measure these things scientifically because they all rely on communication. You can measure communication scientifically. You need to collect data or observe how much an employee is talking when doing a team-building activity. Also, look at how much they’re listening, their tone of voice, their volume, and their body language. Then you can analyze this kind of behavior to indicate how effective a group is likely to be.

team building activities possibilities

That’s why these activities are such a good idea. They will allow you to see how effectively a team communicates to achieve a common goal. Fun activities will help strengthen key skills your team needs to be effective. You can implement these activities inside or outside the office. All you’ll need to do is identify what you want to achieve from your team-building event. You need to decide about this before looking for activities that fill the bill.

Implementation of Team Building

Once you’ve organized a team-building activity, look for some key qualities. Then you can develop these qualities in employees who don’t seem to exhibit them. For instance, a successful team building activity should see the group:

  • Allowing everyone on the team to have a chance to talk
  • Listening to each other
  • Connecting, not just the team leader
  • Making an effort to face one another and demonstrate enthusiasm and positivity

Remember, however, that teams need to consist of members with different personalities and strengths to succeed.

Be mindful of the fact that very extroverted or confident team members may dominate conversations and decisions. This will be the case if they’re not gently reminded to give other team members a chance. Also, bear in mind that very introverted or shy team members might not exhibit the same communication skills or enthusiasm as their colleagues. But, this doesn’t mean they’re not committed to the team or enjoying themselves!

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The Science Behind Great Team-Building Activities
Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan