Why Team Building: Empower Staff

Event planners, managers, facilitators, or anyone else involved in planning a team building event inevitably face the question asked by C-level execs, comptrollers, or stakeholders:  “Why do team building? What are the benefits, and is it worth the time and money we spend?”

We're addressing this question in a series of blogs focused on the benefits of team building. Last week we showed how team building improves communication and participation. This week:  Empowerment.

Team Building Empowers staff to take initiative and make decisions

In a well-designed team building game, no one is an expert and no one is the boss. The team relies on every member to contribute, take initiative, take risks and make decisions. In our games, we often formalize this and assign roles to each team member that puts each one “in charge” of some fun aspect of the event. That forces each team member to take initiative and make decisions in their own area.

What’s more, the assignments are based on unlikely criteria so that people often find themselves taking initiative in areas in which they may not have ever expected to lead. For example, the person with the most siblings, cousins, and children might be assigned the role of “Diplomat”, in charge of communicating with the Game Director and other teams.

Such initiative is rewarded through success in the game - “winning” - and thus amplified. Amplification reinforces the lesson, allowing it to carry forward into the work place. Success at taking charge and taking initiative is contagious.

Increased sense of ownership

Why the increased empowerment? The answer:  they feel a greater sense of ownership.

As we discussed last week, team building improves communication and participation. When employees communicate and participate more in the organization’s activities, they feel a greater sense that they belong - and that the organization belongs to them. They take greater care of each other and the organization itself. The term “we” replaces “they” with regard to the company’s status and direction. Pride goes up, loyalty increases, and longevity extends as employees devote their energy to making the current workplace better rather than seeking a new one.




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