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Team-Building Tips from the Pros

Posted By Guest blog post by Liz Prisley, Community Tampa Bay, Friday, October 6, 2017
Updated: Monday, October 2, 2017

Team-building is essential for high-performing groups and for increasing the environment of inclusion in your office. Social science research, Forbes, and Gallup all repeat the same message: Employees who are engaged in their work and with their team members are more productive.

So how do you team build without turning into Michael Scott from The Office?

Community Tampa Bay recommends team-building at every staff meeting. Even longtime coworkers benefit from intentional opportunities to learn more about each other. Team-building gives coworkers intentional time to connect and build relationship in ways that aren’t centered around task lists or performance reviews.

Here are two of our favorites:

In My World (for large groups, 15+ team members)
Set up is easy: you just need chairs in a circle. Be sure to place one less than there are participants. Individuals share commonalities in a musical chairs-like game. When the person in the middle says, “In my world…” followed up by a fact about themselves, those who share that fact move chairs across the circle while the person in the middle does too. Whoever is left in the middle, having not found a chair, repeats, “In my world…” If the same person ends up in the middle, they can choose someone who hasn’t gone yet.

Animal Farm (for small groups, <15)
Participants increase comfort in a silly, animal noise making game. One person stands in the middle of a circle with their eyes closed and points at someone who then has to make an animal noise. The team member in the middle guesses that person’s identity. For each round the person in the middle changes and starts by spinning with their eyes closed while the circle walks in the opposite direction. If the person in the middle guesses correctly, they join the circle and the animal noise maker is the one in the middle. If not, they try again.

After the activity, whichever one you choose, spend time “processing” – asking strategic questions to share reactions and talk about the team. Move from observational thinking to decision making:

1.       What did you notice about our group?

2.       Where did you find yourself feeling frustrated?

3.       What strategies helped us to be successful?

4.       How can we apply these lessons back to how we work together as a team?

Learn more about how to cultivate an intentionally inclusive work space by joining us at NLC on October 13th for an exciting new class, Creating a Culture of Inclusion in Your Nonprofit, facilitated by Community Tampa Bay’s Liz Prisley. Walk away with exciting new strategies for building inclusive team dynamics that contribute to a culture of inclusion in your workplace!

Liz Prisley is the Professional Education Manager at Community Tampa Bay, a local anti-discrimination nonprofit, where she oversees adult and workplace diversity and inclusion education programs. She has more than five years of experience in diversity training and 10 years in teaching adult learners.

As a former college professor, Liz has taught as a Fulbright scholar in Germany, at Virginia Tech, The University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She specializes in creating high-energy, engaging environments for learning where the intangibles of diversity and inclusion are made tangible.


Tags:  employee engagement  high performing  inclusion  performance review  productivity  relationships  team  teambuilding 

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