Team building gets a bad rap, but it’s crucial for the success of any business. When managers have teams that work productively and cooperatively together, they can sleep easier knowing that they don’t have to constantly micromanage them. Team building helps your employees find their place on the team, as well as establish a “groove,” or an efficient system of working.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure that team building happens so that good work can be done. This is by no means an easy task, because getting people to naturally mingle in a contrived environment is basically an oxymoron. Every company is different, so we can’t tell you what will be right for your team, but there are some universal wrongs to avoid. To help, we’ve come up with a list of the top ten things managers shouldn’t do during team building exercises:
1. Making Assumptions
While it’s true that all of your employees are competent enough to work at your company, it’s not necessarily true that they all have the same ability. Mental and physical disabilities, both visible and non-visible, could be affecting your team, so it’s important to be considerate of that when planning activities.
2. Not Setting Expectations
At the start of your team building period, it’s helpful to set expectations as to how everyone should act and treat each other. Allow your team to come up with these guidelines themselves, so that they don’t feel like rules. Clauses about communication, idea sharing, and participation are great starting points.
3. Playing Favorites
You may be a manager, but you’re also only human, so it’s natural to have a particular employee or group of employees that you’re drawn to. However, in a team building setting, these relationships are abundantly clear and can make other employees feel unwelcome. Try your best to stay objective during the exercise and establish a level of fairness.
4. Allowing Cliques
Your employees will create their own relationships and connections with each other, and this is great for ensuring high employee satisfaction. However, as mentioned above, it actually undermines the purpose of team building, so take care to break up well-known friend groups in the workplace. This way, they can get to know others!
5. Being Overambitious
Despite what your favorite feel-good movie may say, no singular experience will turn strangers into best friends. Be realistic when determining what outcome you want your exercise to have, and even share those goals with your team. But, team building is supposed to be fun, so make sure your employees don’t feel any pressure to perform.
6. Not Taking Suggestions
As the manager, you’re probably used to being the boss and making all final decisions. But, when you apply this way of thinking to team building, you don’t leave much room for the actual team to collaborate. Employees will definitely tell you what they like, don’t like, and what they want—if you listen.
7. Public Scolding
If a rowdy employee is being rude or doesn’t meet the set expectations, it can be tempting to shut them down in front of the group. While this does make an example of the employee, it can squash any positive feelings your team was having, so try to give admonishments in private.
8. Reinforcing Work Hierarchies
Be a captain, not a coach. You’re just as much a part of your team as your employees, and reminding them that you’re the boss will only hinder them from sharing ideas or projects with you. Don’t just facilitate your team’s exercise, but also get involved with them.
9. Forcing the Fun
If your team building exercise is a dud, then it’s a dud. Trying to force your employees to enjoy themselves—or worse, punishing them for not having fun—will just undo the work you’ve already accomplished. Simply take their feedback, adjust for the future, and move on.
10. Hosting in the Office
Employees often see events held in the office as being unimportant or like any other meeting, because the office is such a familiar space to them. Additionally, most workplaces don’t have adequate space to accommodate their employees during a team building exercise. Instead, try hosting at corporate meeting venues in NYC, which are optimized for group collaboration.
Are you on the search for corporate function venues in NYC for your next team building exercise? SoHoSoleil has a number of spaces to fulfill your event needs!
Our three lofts, CornerLight, SereneSite, and MeetingSite, were designed with employee productivity in mind. With spacious rooms, expansive NYC views, and work amenities like Wifi and a projector, these spaces can accommodate most corporate meetings, events, and shoots.