Navigating the World of Team Building: Do’s & Don’ts

By Bob Morrell on August 30, 2023

Team building events: they can be the highlight of the work calendar or dreaded affairs that everyone hopes to escape. If you’ve ever participated in a team-building day, you know that they can range from the exhilarating and unforgettable to the cringeworthy and unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. So, let’s explore the do’s and don’ts of team building, looking at what can truly enhance collaboration and what might just make your colleagues want to run for the hills.

Setting the Stage: Do’s for Effective Team Building

  1. Make It Relevant: When planning a team building event, consider the challenges your team faces on a daily basis. Align the activities with these challenges to ensure that the experience resonates and has a meaningful impact.
  2. Mix It Up: A good team building day should have a variety of tasks, some challenging and others more straightforward. This ensures that everyone can contribute and feel engaged without being overwhelmed.
  3. Professional Facilitation: Hiring a professional facilitator can make a world of difference. An external expert can lead the activities, allowing team members to focus on participating rather than orchestrating.
  4. Inject Some Fun: Incorporate a theme or an inspiring angle to your event. This can ignite creativity, foster a positive atmosphere, and make the day more engaging overall.
  5. Capture the Moments: Taking photos and videos during the event not only captures the memories but also gives the team something to look back on and laugh about.
  6. Regularly Scheduled: Don’t let team building become a rare occurrence. Plan regular events to maintain the team’s camaraderie and sense of unity.
  7. Choose an Accessible Location: Opt for a venue that’s easy for everyone to get to. Early starts followed by long days can be exhausting, so consider convenience when selecting the location.
  8. Lead by Example: If you’re in a leadership position, participate as a team member rather than a focal point. This encourages a more inclusive and collaborative environment.
  9. Feedback Matters: After the event, gather feedback from the team. This can provide valuable insights into what worked and what could be improved for the next time.

Navigating the Traps: Don’ts for a Successful Team Building Experience

  1. Don’t Make It All About Work: Team building events should provide a break from the everyday routine, not just replicate it in a different setting.
  2. Avoid the Office: Holding an event in the office can hinder the escape from daily tasks and interactions. A change of scenery can make a world of difference.
  3. Steer Clear of Forced Fun: Forcing employees to engage in activities they’re comfortable with can backfire. Allow people to opt out of activities that don’t suit their preferences.
  4. Skip the Role Plays: Team building isn’t training. Avoid role plays, which can come across as contrived and inauthentic.
  5. Moderation in Food and Alcohol: While sharing meals and drinks can be enjoyable, be cautious about overindulging, especially if it may lead to unwanted outcomes.
  6. Don’t Make It Compulsory: While inviting everyone is essential, don’t make attendance mandatory. Respect that team building may not resonate with everyone.
  7. Balance Challenges: Avoid activities that are physically demanding, especially if they aren’t inclusive to all participants.
  8. Prizes Matter: Don’t forget to acknowledge efforts. Skimping on prizes can leave a sour taste after a day of hard work.
  9. Avoid Unwanted Outcomes: Whatever you do, don’t try to transform someone during a team building event. It can create uncomfortable situations and overshadow the overall experience.

Wrapping It Up: Finding Balance in Team Building

Team building can be a powerful tool to enhance collaboration, trust, and communication within a team. When done right, it can create lasting memories and improve workplace dynamics. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance between enjoyable activities and meaningful outcomes. By avoiding the common pitfalls and embracing the do’s, you’ll be on your way to creating team building events that truly make a positive impact.

So whether you’re planning your next team building day or getting ready to participate, keep these tips in mind to ensure an event that’s both enjoyable and effective. After all, it’s the collective effort and shared experiences that truly bring teams closer together.

Our new podcast, Team Building: Do’s & Don’ts, is available to download now – click here to listen: or subscribe to Bob & Jeremy’s Conflab on your favourite podcast platform and download the latest episodes today.

For even more ideas and inspiration, follow @bob_and_jeremys_conflab and @reality_training on Instagram.