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Team Building Games Are Valuable Tools

May 26, 2008
Teams are valuable because of their ability divide and conquer large tasks in an efficient and creative way. Everyone wants their teams to be strong and unified, but they need to be diverse too. In the best teams, team members are able to understand each other and work together without losing their sense of individual worth. After all, unity doesn't mean that differences need to be homogenized out of existence. Rather, it means the team has learned how to capitalize on group dynamics and individual strengths that contribute to the team's effectiveness as a whole.

Creating this kind of team unity can definitely be a challenge. To attain this kind of unity, team members must learn about each other through good communication in addition to having common goals. Knowing each other well is important because it helps team members form realistic expectations and avoid unnecessary frustration. For example, it is harder to be patient with weaknesses when they pop up as surprises and nigh impossible to capitalize on another individual's strength if team members don't even know that it exists.

One of the best ways to get people to work together without sacrificing individual strengths is through team building games like rope courses, trust falls, relay races and scavenger hunts because team building games do more than force people to work together. They bolster enthusiasm, build relationships and establish channels of communication that can also be used in an office environment once they have been formed. Teachers, coaches and managers have all been so impressed with the results of team building games that many of them are willing to invest time and money into getting employees, students and athletes out of the office, school or field and into the games.

Games are such an effective tool because they usually take place in a less stressful environment than work which makes it easier for people to open up and be themselves. Games are also useful because they create shared experiences that everyone enjoys which will help them bond together and become a better team. By adding a little fun into the mix, the activities you choose can also function as a release valve that rejuvenates and recharges your employees.

If your team building games do prove successful and your teams become more effective in the office, make sure you reward them for meeting their goals and becoming more efficient. Reward can come in the form of simple thanks, praise and treats but the form of appreciation isn't nearly as important as making sure it is expressed. Work may not be as fun as team building games, but meeting their goals and being recognized for their work can go a long way in keeping people motivated.
About the Author
If you want to invest in tried and tested team building games that have been acclaimed by the New York Times, check out the scavenger hunts at Watson Adventures (http://www.watsonadventures.com/team_building.html). The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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