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10 Great Team Building Ideas for Managers

written by: Christopher Kochan • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 5/20/2011

One of most important, yet hardest, aspects of managing a team is trying to come up with good ways to promote communication and team unity between everyone working on a project. Here are ten great team building ideas to keep teams on a successful path.

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    Building Team Unity

    Managing a team of professionals can be tough, especially if there are high employee turnover rates and not many people communicate very well. The first step is to build communication between the team members. Over time, the team members will become more comfortable with each other, resulting in more team unity.

    Throughout the rest of this article, we'll discover ten great team building ideas for managers to incorporate into their management methods, in order to build communication and unity in a team.

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    1. Formal Introductions

    team building ideas When first introducing a newly hired individual or a new employee transferring into the team from another department, it is important to personally introduce the individual to each employee. Giving the new employee a formal introduction with time to communicate, ask questions, and get to know their new co-workers can help settle some of the new employee's nerves, while also building communication between team members.

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    2. Use First or Nicknames

    A great team building idea is to keep the entire team on a first name basis and possibly incorporating nicknames whenever possible. Although some may disagree with this approach as "unprofessional," referring to each person on a team using first names or nicknames creates a friendly working environment promoting friendships between coworkers. Also, first names tend to be much shorter and easier to remember.

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    3. Casual Team Party

    Before a project is launched, one team building idea to promote communication and team unity is to reward the team with a casual party day. Allow employees to wear what they feel like for a day, as long as the clothes stay within the requirements of the working conditions; provide a longer lunch break, with possibly a movie and pizza; and end the day a little early.

    Although this reward can be a great idea to promote communication, it only works if the manager incorporates other team building activities to jump-start the communication between team members. The employees won't get anywhere if everyone just shows up for pizza and eats at the same lunch table, with the same people. One great idea to use during a casual team party is having personal contribution presentations, as explained in the next section.

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    4. Personal Contribution Presentations

    Personal contribution presentations are a great way for each member of the team to present more information about themselves and how they will contribute to the project. Each person will be required to give around a two minute speech presenting information relevant to how they will contribute to the project, including information such as courses they took, projects they worked on, past work experiences, or even professional books they have read pertaining to subjects of the project.

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    5. Scheduled Team Meetings

    Even if the manager believes there is no information to discuss at regular team meetings, one of the best team building ideas would be to incorporate scheduled team meetings. These meetings should be held at least once a week, if not more often; in order to get the entire team face to face on a regular basis to discuss information, issues with the project and problems within the team. Also, as manager, be sure to provide information on the performance of the team, advancements in the project, and any other important announcements at scheduled team meetings.

     

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    6. Important Decision Meetings

    During every project, there seems to always be a need for important decisions; which in all reality can make or break the success of the project. In order to work as a team, the decision should be based on the collective opinion of the team. Holding an important decision meeting can help gather everyone to speak about these issues. These meetings are more important than regular scheduled meetings, as previously explained on Page 1; since there is more urgency to solve a major decision, especially if the entire situation was unexpected.

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    7. Team Discussions

    Team discussions are a great idea for companies looking to do group projects, to later come together as a team and build off all the ideas. These usually happen during the working period; however, some more "fun" team discussions can be incorporated during lunch hours. Although these discussions may not really get anything done, with respect to the project; these will inspire team members to communicate and form friendships.

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    8. Online Discussions

    team building idea Since more and more businesses have been turning most of their communication and some areas of operation to the Internet, it may be easier for companies to hold online discussions between team members. Online team discussions can be sent any time and employees must be required to spend time during work, such as during the time they are checking their email. Many businesses hold online discussions through emails; however, it is important to learn there are newer social media websites, which can help make business communication and online discussions easier.

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    9. Small Group Projects

    As mentioned in point seven, small group projects can help build communication between coworkers who would normally work next to each other for years without saying much more than, "Hello,'co-worker'."

    Although group projects may be an easy team building idea to incorporate into a working environment, many team members will request to work with certain friends. This may improve the productivity of the groups; however, it will not meet the goal of the group work, previously mentioned; which is to build communication between different coworkers.

    Always assign different teams to work together, as this will slowly increase the communication of each worker with every other worker; resulting in good team unity when working on projects.

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    10. Breakthrough or Success Recognition

    The final team building idea is to give proper recognition to the team for breakthroughs or success they may encounter; such as gaining a major client or for selling several million units of a certain product. By providing recognition to the team, a group, or individuals performing well, other team members will begin working harder to be rewarded, as well. Unfortunately, this requires building a rewards system; such as a sales incentive compensation plan.

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    References

    Author, Christopher Kochan, obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Operations and Supply Chain Management, taking courses specifically related to Organizational Behavior; studying the process of building strong business communications within a business. Also, he worked for two years as a project manager for a landscape company.

    Image Credits:

    1. Vlado - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Business_Concepts_An_g200-People_Network_p32685.html
    2. jscreationzs - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Communications_and_N_g263-Laptop_And_News__p33820.html


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