Why Team Building Games? A blog series

A while back we did a series on the benefits of team building. In this series we'll get a little more specific: when and why are games the best choice for team building?

Participatory games are among several options managers have for team building. Others include retreats (usually heavy with organizational development meetings and exercises), participatory sporting events, company dinners or parties, or group attendance at a performance of some kind. Like games, each have their strengths and weaknesses.

Our focus, however, is on games.

Games help develop teams when team members enjoy the activity and each other and learn something from it that they can apply to their daily (work) lives. Games improve productivity through improved communication and team bonding.

The use of games in team building games has gained significant popularity in recent years for one simple reason: they work. A well-run game will:

  • Improve communication
  • Provide opportunities for group members to relax and “be themselves”
  • Provide opportunities for group members to learn about each other as human beings
  • Teach valuable skills
  • Involve as many participants as possible
  • Be enjoyable, thereby maximizing participation
  • Improve morale and therefore productivity

Games are not always the best option for a group. Groups that have suffered from bruising problems such as massive layoffs, discrimination or harassment lawsuits, or workplace violence would be better served by specialized workshops designed to heal in those specific areas. Games work best for team building when the team is overall in a reasonably healthy, productive state, yet could benefit from a morale boost. Even highly productive teams can benefit from participating in a team building game as a reward for a job well done, as a chance to blow off steam during an intense set of meetings or product roll-outs, or as a welcome change of pace from the usual routine.

Next week we'll start touching on the specific advantages of games for team building versus alternative forms.

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