Do you really want to have fun at work or just add fun to an ordinary work day? Below are a few simple team building tips that will help you have fun while building the team.
Go to Lunch
One of the most overlooked team building activity is the lunch. Really… Just a simple lunch out of the office. Quite often, coworkers will run to get a bite to eat with each other, and they will likely group together when they do. Every once in a while, if you are the boss, invite yourself to the group. “Hey are you folks going over to Chili’s for lunch? Mind if I tag along?” If you have never done this before, you will likely get some subtle resistance. (I mean, who wants to eat with the boss, right?) However, when you pick up the tab at the end of the meal, the whole group will be appreciative. You are likely during the meal to really get to know your team on a more personal level, as well. It is easier to communicate with your team when you they like you and trust you, and food is a great conversation starter.
Share Success Stories
When you get a compliment from a client or a project runs very efficiently, make sure and share the story behind the success with the whole team. Most managers think that just telling the result is good enough, but the team will only get to see the complete picture if they get access to the whole story — the story behind the numbers. For instance, instead of “We hit our goal by the skin of our teeth. Good job, everyone,” tell the team what put us over the top. “On Thursday afternoon, we were still $25,000 under goal and had just one day to get the generate the last bit of revenue. John was able to go back to an order that was shipping on Friday and called the customer back to offer to double the order in exchange for a 2% discount. That was just enough to put us over the goal!”
By the way, most of the people that work for a big company do their job very well without ever knowing how their work affects the bottom-line. They are the part of the team who need most to hear about the success stories that occur at the end of the project. They will feel more of a feeling of accomplishment as they hear how their activities led to the success.
Make Time to Play
One of the big mistakes that I see big companies make is that they try to re-create a team culture from another organization. For instance, a lot of high-tech companies have started creating gourmet meals for their employees for free and bring in pool tables for recreation because Google does it. Or they try to add comedy to their announcements because Southwest Airlines does it. Remember that it took years for these organizations to create their culture, and if you take what works for them and insert it into a different culture, you’ll likely get a lot of resistance and confusion. Instead, start slow and build on the team culture.
A good way to start is to and a small fun activity. It could be a goal for the group to accomplish like a sales goal or customer retention goal, or it could be an outing where you shut down the office early on a Friday night and go to a ball game or go bowling. In reality, it doesn’t really matter how you start as long as you build on the first step. You can’t do something fun once and then stop. Instead, get creative an add fun activities to your culture in a step-by-step fashion.
So if you want to build a team culture and have fun at work, go to lunch with your team from time to time, share success stories, and make time for play. If you do, you’ll begin to build your team culture.