Teamwork exercises motivate employees, improve communications and help people work together on business projects. Team-building games can be fun and give employees a chance to reduce stress while learning valuable skills. Employees who work as a team have improved communication, greater productivity and mutual respect for each other. Businesses benefit by improving individual and organizational performance, which translates to a better bottom line.
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"Group juggle," from corporate trainer and motivator Kirk Weisler, is designed to help employees release stress, improve time-management skills and conflict resolution skills. Three different kinds of balls or other soft objects are needed. This is a 30-minute exercise that uses a facilitator to introduce new balls into the exercise. Group juggle starts with all the employees standing in a circle with only a small amount of space between each person. The first ball represents primary tasks. The ball is thrown to someone in the group. That person then must state what his primary work tasks are and then throw the ball to another person in the group. Each person who catches this ball must also state his work tasks. While the first ball is still circulating in the group, the second ball is thrown. The second ball is the “curve ball,” things in life that people have no control over. As with the first ball, the person catching this ball must state one item he has no control over. The third ball follows the same pattern and represents distractions. All three balls will be circulating in the group at one point. When everyone has caught each ball once, the game is over.
"Ten-dollar auction," from corporate trainer and international business consultant Gregory P. Smith, teaches employees the positive and negative effects of workplace competition. An auction is set up with a gavel, auctioneer and a $10 bill. The employee group is told that a $10 bill will be auctioned and the winner will have to pay the auctioned amount for the bill. Immediately after the first auction, a second auction is held for a single $10 bill. This time, both the winner and second place bidder must pay the bid amount; however, only the winning bidder gets the $10. Typically, the auction becomes competitive and the bidding goes beyond the $10 amount. Often, employees get caught up in the frenzy of competition and lose sight of the real value of the item being auctioned. Employees then examine how workplace competition can increase imprudent decision-making that may lead to fiscal irresponsibility. The positive side of competition is the increased excitement and energy that healthy competition can provide.
"Mine field" is a teamwork exercise that builds communication and relationship building through trust. Objects are scattered about the center of a room. The area is taped off in a square. Employees are paired up with one employee blindfolded, while the other is the guide. The challenge is for the blindfolded employee to make it from one end of the course to the other through the mine field, being guided verbally by the other employee.
The “day colors” exercise is an employee exercise that illustrates how people see the same things differently. This helps build employee empathy, to help in conflict resolution. Understanding another person’s point of view helps reduce confusion that can lead to conflict because of a misunderstanding. Each employee will need a pen and pad of paper. Everyone closes their eyes and is told to imagine the days of the week. They are then asked what color they see for each day and to write them down. A discussion follows where everyone compares the days of the week and their color choices.