|Courtesy of snappybex/Creative Commons LIcense|
When I hear the term “team building activities” the first one that comes to mind is the “Trust Fall”. You know what I’m talking about, they do it at every work camp/retreat you’ve ever been to. It’s the activity where you fall back off a table and trusts that everyone will catch you. Most times people will. It’s not exactly the most effective activity; however, it is popular.
Lately our staff has been focusing on team building and yesterday we decided to give sailing a go. We went down to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and signed up for a lesson. It was different; yet, rewarding on so many levels. It started off with some brief instruction on what was what, where was where and how to do what you needed to do in order to sail the vessel. After the instruction we set off for a little regatta which, my team unfortunately lost. None the less, in the end we learned a quite a bit about decision making, communication and team work.
While sailing isn’t for everyone, team building needs to be. It’s an exercise that will make you stronger and teach you about who is working for and around you. But, team building isn’t as simple as getting people together to talk about team, it needs to have:
- Risk – There are going to be times at work when risks will be taken. Some will end up in total success while others failure. In a team building exercise that involves risk you can determine and practice the ways your staff will respond if someone (or the whole team) flops and fails.
- Competition – Ministry isn’t a competition; however, if there is no competitive edge you lose a sense of urgency. By fueling a healthy competitive spirit you can figure out what motivates others. You will also see how certain members of the teams work under pressure.
- Problem Solving – You need to know who thinks outside the box and who is a little more pragmatic. One isn’t better than the other because, together they are powerful. Problem solving exercises help you see how the team works, when you figure that out you know who to delegate what.
- Reflection – If you don’t stop around once in a while you might miss something. A great team building activity needs a period of reflection when you can examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the team. By self examining who you are, you will know more about what you can handle.
- Prayer – No team is complete without God. As cliché as it sounds, it so true. Whether you begin the activity in prayer or it appears throughout the exercise, including God to make you humble and vulnerable will only help you grow together.
When you have those components, you have an exercise that will bless you over and over again. A team, just like a family is meant to grow. Just as a family grows closer through trial, coworkers need to do the same. The stronger and the wiser the team, the more you will stick together through hard times and celebrate wildly during the good times.