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Team Building 

Below you will find a list of Team Building activities.  

 

Click on those activity titles that suit your needs. 

 

 

Activity Listing

Adapt these activity ideas to your content and audience

 

1. Interpersonal Team Norms--Use this activity to identify  team norms. 

2.  Musical Insights—Use this activity to help participants gain insights into team personality. 

3. Assessment Builder--Use this activity to clarify team strengths and weaknesses

4. Fill in the Blanks--This activity helps focus and narrow a big topic

5. Any Questions?--This activity develops the skill of good question asking

6. Define Your Terms—Use this activity to explore team member connections

7. Situation Brainstorming--Use this activity to pool the team's best thinking

8. Core Team Dynamics--One of four team self-awareness discussion activities.

9. Team Snapshot--One of four team self-awareness discussion activities.

10. Enduring Values--One of four team self-awareness discussion activities.

11. Foundational Team Strengths--One of four team self-awareness discussion activities.

12. Action Research--This activity will help a team focus its energy on a topic or challenge 

13. Choosing the Best Options--Use this activity to help teams evaluate alternatives

14. Stop Doing List-This activity helps teams focus their energy

15. Building Trust—This activity starts the trust building process in a group or team

16. Sports Team Analogy—This activity helps teams to describe team member interdependence  

17. "What I Have Learned"-Use this activity to help isolate interpersonal strategies for strong teams

18. Peak Team Experiences--This activity helps teams articulate how they should work together effectively.

19. Team Expectations-Use this exercise to clarify team participation expectations

20. Appreciations Exercise--Use this exercise to strengthen a team by sharing individual strengths.

21. Strength Building--An exercise to build team/group cohesion.

22. Interpersonal Connections --An activity to introduce productive interpersonal behaviors.

23. Team Expectations --This activity helps teams identify and articulate  team expectations.


More Free Team Activities from Workshop Exercises

If your team is newly formed, has new personnel, a new leader, or is just in need of new energy, you may want to use the team focus activities below.  Although they are presented as a set, you can use them separately as needs emerge:

  1. Team Assessment: Use this assessment to take a critical looks at your team.  It should open productive conversation about your team and its direction and needs.

  2. Visioning: Use this activity to articulate your team’s ideal future

  3. Goal Setting: Use this activity to focus your team goals and set a basis for directed action

  4. Building an Action Plan: Use this activity to identify specific actions to achieve your goals

  5. Clarifying Roles: This activity will help your team clarify the role of each individual team member.

  6. Understanding Change: A look at managing successful change.

  7. Conflict Awareness:  Manage team conflict before it escalates


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 Great Team Building Books


 

 

 

   I. Interpersonal Team Norms

 Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.

Objective: To identify interpersonal skills that support team success

  How the author has used the activity: Successful teams find a way to interact in a productive and effective way. I like to use this activity to encourage participants to not only identify interpersonal skills that lead to team success, but also to make a commitment to core interpersonal norms.

  Activity: Divide into small groups. Each group should have a Team Interaction Chart (see below). The groups are directed to do four tasks:

A. Make a list of key interpersonal skills that teams must practice in order to be successful (one example is listed on the Chart).

B. From the skills listed in column one on the Chart, the group should write three core team interaction norms (one example is given on the Chart).

C. Have the group brainstorm to identify things that individuals can do to practice or reinforce each norm.

D. Have a spokesperson share the small group's interpersonal norms with the full group. From the norms presented, the full group can compile a master list of team interpersonal norms. This list should be printed and subsequently given to all team members. The team may even want to have a poster made of the norms to be placed in the team meeting room.

  Team Interaction Chart

Key Interpersonal Skills

Norms

Some things to work on

Example: “Think before you speak.”

“Listen to learn”

“Be aware on NOT interrupting as others speak.”

1.

 

 

2.

 

 

3.

 

 

4.

 

 

  Added thoughts or considerations: It is always a challenge to translate training content into actual behavior change. This activity moves from brainstorming to concrete behavior.

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  II.  Musical Insights

Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.

 

Objective (s): To gain insights into the overall “personality” of a team

Activity Description: This activity is a good introduction to team building.  Before the workshop prepare three to five different musical clips to represent different team “personalities.”  For example, music that portrays the team that is quiet, stormy, indifferent, excitable, icy, divided, aggressive, disjointed, etc.  List the musical titles and play the clips.  Ask individuals to explain to the group which musical piece fits the team they are on and why.  This should open up some enjoyable introductory discussion about teams and how team members interact with one another.

Added thoughts or considerations:  I like to transition out of this activity by asking the group if teams have personalities and how these personalities are shaped. 

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  III. Assessment Builder

Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.

Objective(s):  To identify team preferences, opinions, and/or expectations

Activity: This activity asks small groups to build a team interaction assessment (or another topic of your choice).  This will require the group to explore the topic in detail and ultimately identify those things that are most important.  Have each group fill in the blank assessment form below:

Your purpose is to construct an assessment for team members to complete.  The purpose of this assessment is twofold: 1. To help clarify characteristics that shape a team, 2. To help participants identify team characteristics that are both strong and weak.

Assessment title ______________________________________

Assessment Objective: _________________________________

Assessment rationale or justification or purpose: ___________________________________________

Directions: Complete the assessment below using the following continuum: 5= ________;  4= _______; 3=_________; 2= __________; 1= _________ .

Scoring

Team Characteristic

5  4  3  2  1

1.

5  4  3  2  1

2.

5  4  3  2  1

3.

5  4  3  2  1

4.

5  4  3  2  1

5.

5  4  3  2  1

6.

5  4  3  2  1

7.

5  4  3  2  1

8.

5  4  3  2  1

9.

5  4  3  2  1

10.

  Scoring Directions:

Scoring Interpretation:  

Added thoughts or considerations: I feel that it is always a good idea to tap the wisdom of a group. This activity does that. You can leave it up to the group to decide if they want to use their assessments and, if they do, how they want to use the results. The logical transition from this activity to the next step is to challenge the group to come up with strategies to strengthen the characteristics in which they are scored low. In short, challenge them to identify what makes a team strong and how a team can become stronger.

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  IV. Fill in the Blanks

Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.

Objective(s):  To focus team thinking and identify key ideas

How the author has used this exercise:  In order to encourage participants to think about teams (or any professional development topic), I often ask them to complete fill-in-the-blank cards (see sample below). 

Activity Description: Have participants individually complete the fill-in-the-blanks card (see sample below).  Then have them meet in small groups of five to seven and pass the completed cards around the group.  Once all the cards have been read, they should reach consensus and complete a group card that selects their best responses.  These cards are shared with the full group.  This is a good way to identify ideas that are important to the group. 

Thinking about Teams

  • The main benefit of teams is ________________________________________.

  • One important reason teams make sense for an organization is ________________________________.

  • In order for a team to work the team leader must _________________________________.

  • The number one thing that weakens teams is ___________________________________.

  • The key factor for a team’s success is _______________________________.

  • In order to make a team effective, team members must agree to ________________________________.

  • An important indicator of team empowerment is __________________________________.

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V. Any Questions?

 

Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.

 

Objective (s): To use questions to focus team thinking

Activity Description: A big part of team success is the ability of its members to ask good questions.  Good questions shape a topic and focus thinking.  In this activity participants will explore five basic types of questions.

List the five types of questions and provide a brief definition for each.  Then have the team identify a current topic, issue, or concern.  After reflecting on the selected issue, the team should generate one to three questions for each question type.  See the chart below…

Issue/Topic/Problem: _________________________________________________

Question Type

Type Definition

Group Questions

1. Open-ended questions

Questions that encourage broad discussion

 

2. Clarification questions

Questions that help focus a topic or issue

 

3. Detail questions

Questions that request facts, details, or yes/no

 

4. Explanation questions

Questions that request descriptions or explanations

 

5. New direction questions

Questions that move thought into new areas

 

  Once the questions have been articulated, select the key questions and answer them.  

 

Added thoughts or considerations: We make a mistake when we assume that groups or teams know how to ask good questions. Good question asking is a skill to be learned and practiced. Team meeting facilitators must be particularly good at asking questions.

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VI. Define Your Terms

Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.  

 

Objective: To explore the various dimensions of teamwork

How the author has used this activity: I have used this exercise to encourage teams to understand how they interact.

Activity Description: Write the following terms on the board or on flip chart paper: cooperation, collaboration, and collegiality.

Have the group discuss how each of the terms are different and how each of the terms works within successful teams. The goal is to move team members to understand that they must connect with one another on various levels.

Option: You may break the group into three small groups and have each group define one of the three terms. Then in full group pool their responses.

 

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VII. Situation Brainstorming

Author: Tom Siebold.  Tom  is a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.  He is editor of two websites: 1 College Grazing -- Free college planning tools for college bound students, 2. Teachers on Target -- Free professional development ideas and classroom activities.  

Objective: To stimulate new thinking, best practices, and mutual team support.

How the author has used this activity: I often use this activity format to help teams work together to find practical solutions and, at the same time, uncover patterns of problem solving.

Activity Description: In this activity team members bring to the team a “real work situation” that they have recently encountered. One at a time, members relate their situation as objectively as they can, being careful not to reveal how they handled it.  After each example the full team brainstorms for strategies asking themselves “What would be the best way to deal with this situation?”  This activity should help the group to formulate best practices and draw to the surface core team values.

Options: The team may divide into pairs to do this situation exchange. You may also want to stretch this activity out over several meetings by doing only one or two situations a time.

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