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Build Strong Teams Through Effective Team Building Activities

In the evolving world of business, managers are constantly seeking strategies to foster employee happiness and productivity. One such strategy that has demonstrated success over the years is team building. Team building is more than just a catchphrase—it’s a proven method of enhancing communication, cooperation, and camaraderie within a team.

Michael Alexis, CEO of, an industry leader in virtual, hybrid, and in-person team-building experiences, joined me to illuminate the ins and outs of effective team building. His more than a decade of experience has taught him what it takes to create team building events that are both fun and impactful.

Design Team Building For Your People

In the early stages of corporate life, team building was little more than an annual picnic or happy hour. Today, it has evolved into a multifaceted method of improving the overall performance and spirit of the team. Team building now comes in all shapes and sizes, allowing managers to select from a broad range of activities that can be as brief as 5 minutes or as extensive as 2 days. Team building can be facilitated in-house (DIY style) or with an outside firm, and happen virtually or in person. 

Michael noted that as managers embark on designing their team building approach, it’s important to consider the interests and diversity of your team, as well as the logistical constraints. 

Balancing the Introvert-Extrovert Dynamic

Team building activities should cater to everyone, regardless of their personality type. While some folks might hog the mic at karaoke, others will sit on the sidelines. Michael suggested blending structured activities with more organic ones to help everyone engage. For example, a painting project might give step-by-step instructions or allow folks to unleash their creativity, or both! Creating a range of activities that consider the introvert-extrovert dynamic can help ensure that every team member benefits from the experience.

Navigating Physical Fitness and Ability

Michael also warned that physical fitness can have a major impact on team building success. Activities like group yoga, a field day, or even a scavenger hunt that requires lots of walking, can inhibit some people from participating. As you plan, consider the physical abilities of your team members and ensure the activities are accessible or can accommodate any needs. If you do decide on a physically taxing activity (like trapeze, which was an activity I chose for my team), be sure to find ways to make it fun and engaging for those who aren’t able or choose not to participate. 

Managing Group Size, Location, and Cost 

The logistics play a major role in what activities will work best for your team. Michael suggests imagining your team participating. If there are three of you doing trivia, will that be any fun? If 10 people are in one Zoom room, will you really be able to keep everyone engaged? Do you really want to spend time moving a group of 40 around the city?

With the proliferation of remote working post-pandemic, virtual team building has become crucial for many managers. While there can be challenges in terms of engagement and participation, there are various creative solutions. Virtual escape rooms, online quizzes, or small group breakouts are just a few examples of virtual team building events that Michael has seen effectively engage remote teams.

Make Any Team Building Event Extra Special

As a manager, your presence can be motivating and help you strengthen relationships with your colleagues. However, it's also important to give your team some space to interact and bond independently. For more social events, Michael suggests you occasionally opt out or leave a little early, allowing people to relax without their boss around. 

In addition, Michael suggests looking for opportunities to surprise your team members. For remote teams, this could include sending a small care package to each person with instructions not to open it until the event starts. This is what they did for a “campfire” themed virtual event. Each person received a mini s'mores package with a candle for them to roast their own marshmallow.

Lastly, a great way to understand what activities your team members might appreciate is by gathering input.  Incorporating their interests and addressing their concerns can go a long way in creating a successful team building programming. Michael encourages managers to seek feedback after an event, but some managers might prefer to poll the team ahead of time. Either way, be sure to reflect what you’ve heard in upcoming events.

Effective team building is more than just fun and games—it's a strategically important tool that can significantly improve the productivity, happiness, and cohesiveness of a team. By understanding your team’s interests, logistical limitations, and what makes for a successful event, you will increase the chances of designing a team building event that will cultivate a positive team environment that encourages growth, collaboration, and success.

Listen to the entire episode  HERE to learn more about conflict management.

Keep up with Michael Alexis:

- Follow Michael on LinkedIn here

- Check out his website for more here

Guest Bonus: Free Download - “How to Run a Great Virtual Icebreaker: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet”

Download a PDF with tips for running great icebreakers, an extensive (but not exhaustive) list of icebreaker questions, and links to other resources, including blog articles and example icebreaker games.

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