The exercises that form a team-building should always be based on the needs of the group and on the expectation of team leader/manager. In the following article we shall present 4 training activities that will help the team cooperate, communicate and trust not only within it but also with its leader.
1. Personal Shield
This ice breaker is designed for members that are not yet familiar with each other and it aims to encourage communication. Each participant is given an A4 piece of paper, colored pens or crayons in order to draw: 3 things he/she likes to do in his/her leisure time, 3 ambitions, 3 persons he/she admires and 3 places he/she would like to visit. All these elements should be drawn and not written. They also have to choose a phrase that they think represents them best, a personal motto. After finishing drawing, each person should describe their personal shield and the drawings may be put on the walls of the room to be admired through the team-building.
2. Trust Fall
This training activity encourages trust and becoming comfortable with the team. The participants stand in a circle, close enough not to leave space between them. A circle may be formed from 7 to 10 people. One person will stand in the middle of the circle, eyes closed, hands crossed at the chest. When he/she feels comfortable and ready, he/she will fall on any side, without moving his/her hands or feet. The members of the circle will catch him/her and set him/her to the original position. Every member of the circle will take turn in being in the middle and letting go.
3. Silence is Golden
The aim of the training exercise is to build cooperation in working together as a team. You will need for this exercise a flipchart for each team and colored markers. A team should have 5-6 members. Each team has 10 minutes to draw on the flipchart their ideal workplace, no matter the cost. The one rule is that they cannot speak during the training exercise. You may allow them to write on extra pieces of paper, in order to communicate with their team mates, but verbal communication is forbidden. After 10 minutes, each team will explain their design. The trainer should be observant to similarities in the drawings and then debrief on the communication barrier that was set between them.
The scope of this team-building activity is to encourage appreciation and support among team members. Prepare before this training exercise a set of 6 labels for each team, therefore each team will have up to 6 members. On the set of labels you can write instructions as: “ignore me”, “respect my opinions”, “laugh at my opinions”, “agree with me” and so on; or just adjectives “arrogant”, “helpful”, “leader”, “defensive” etc. Each member will set a label on the forehand of the person next to him/her, without reading the label. The trainer will assign a task to each team, as organize a Christmas party or conduct a department meeting. The participants will have to respect the labels on their team mates’ foreheads. After 7 minutes of exercise you may stop the training game and begin debriefing. Focus on the outcome of the task, their reactions to others labels, their own reactions and feelings.