Posts Tagged ‘team building tips’

Build a Culture of Trust and Rapport with Your Team

Looking for a quick way to build a culture of trust and rapport with your team? Over a decade ago, I wrote a book called 28 to Influence People as a simple how-to book in building a team culture and improving leadership skills. Interestingly, since I wrote that book, my company, The Leader’s Institute, LLC has become one of the fastest growing and largest team building companies in the world. These principles from the 28 Ways book are time-tested. As a result, they work 100% of the time. However, groups sometimes have confusion between “shared experience” team building event and “behavior change” team building activities.

For instance, sometimes, groups just want to do a fun activity as a group and feel good about the camaraderie that was built in the experience (shared experience). Other times, teams may be experiencing team challenges, or the team may be doing well, but still want to improve communication and teamwork (behavior change). Sometimes, groups want a combination of both.

That is one of the reason why our team building events are so popular. Our instructors mix real behavior changing activities with a fun shared experience. For instance, the first seven chapters in the 28 Ways book are seven ways to build a culture of trust with your team. They are also essential keys to building a team culture. So, in fun activities like a Build-A-Bike ® team building event, an instructor might deliver these seven principles to the group as an introduction. Then, the instructor may reinforce these principles throughout the activity. That way, the group receives real team building skills while having fun in the activity.

Seven Ways to Build a Culture of Trust

  1. Avoid Complaining.
  2. Look at Things from the Other Person’s Point of View.
  3. Smile.
  4. Make an Effort to Remember Names.
  5. Avoid Placing the Burden of Your Problems onto Other People.
  6. Take Responsibility for Clear Communication.
  7. Practice Good Listening Skills.

For a list of our fun team building events, click here. Or, if you want to participate in the online workshop based on these principles, click here.

How Do You Know it’s Time to Have a Teambuilding Event for Your Staff?

Teambuilding has gotten a bad rap in recent years for being ineffective, coddling, and plainly a waste of time.

Teambuilding Event for Your StaffBut with the rise of the Millennial generation in the workforce, along with increased widespread employee turnover and a renewed focus on employee engagement, many companies have been turning toward teambuilding activities to help establish and nurture trust and productivity within their teams. Some organizations make the mistake of implementing teambuilding activities to correct or solve employee behavior issues. Employee behaviors are certainly an indicator that a teambuilding event may be beneficial for your company, but under-performance or behavior issues are also asymptomatic of a larger circumstance at play. Leaders would be wise to implement teambuilding events before these kinds of behavior issues arise. But how do you know when the time is right to have a teambuilding event for your staff?

Below are a Few Ways to Know it’s Time to Have a Teambuilding Event for Your Staff

Below are a few workplace situations that may signal to leaders that a teambuilding event may be an effective way to proactively and intentionally build trust within their teams.

• A generationally diverse spectrum of workers. Millennials value meaningful work that balances with their personal lives, and appreciate recognition of their unique strengths and skill sets. They enjoy teamwork, collaboration, and an open and flexible work environment. This is very different than the Generation X and Baby Boomer generations, which accept that work is a necessary and independent function driven by competition, work ethic, and ladder-climbing.

These are obviously different viewpoints, which can cause workplace tension when they work closely together. A teambuilding activity can nurture understanding between these different groups.

• A recent hiring spree or growth spurt. Though trust is hard to get back once it’s been broken, with new team members, you have the chance to help employees build trust with one another from the outset. A steep influx of new team members within a company can cause an us-versus-them mentality or cliques. More senior team members can also become annoyed with having to answer questions, train or onboard several new team members at once.

Proactively setting up teambuilding events where newer and older employees learn more about each other’s different work styles, strengths, and personalities will help to create a supportive and understanding culture.

• A company restructuring or rebranding. Big organizational changes can make workers uneasy or nervous about where they will fit within the new identity of the company. To help team members see company changes as a positive, teambuilding events are the perfect morale booster and a way to solidify goals and values for the new face of the organization.

Employees, especially millennial generations, enjoy having a voice in the direction the company is going. Use teambuilding events in these situations to re-evaluate company initiatives, services, and product offerings, team processes, and key performance indicators. Transparency and openness go a long way toward uniting a team under common goals.

• An increase in your remote workforce or more flexibility in schedules. According to a recent report by WorldatWork, telework or remote work (in some form) is now offered by 88 percent of organizations, and is growing steadily each year. While this renewed flexibility is a huge benefit for many workers, it also can create feelings of isolation and decreased engagement.

Technological connections, email, and instant messaging replace many face-to-face meetings in these kinds of environments. This is why an in-person teambuilding activity can be a refreshing way to help team members nurture relationships with co-workers they may not see on a daily basis.

There are many ways to approach teambuilding activities with your team, but in every case, a proactive strategy is always best. Keeping an eye out for these situations will help you identify when a teambuilding event for your staff makes sense, increasing morale, collaboration, and performance.

Three Stereotype Shattering Strategies to Unite a Diverse Team

Gone are the days when it’s normal to see offices mostly filled with people from the same town, age group, and university.

Diverse-TeamNow, it’s normal for an office to have a 50-year old mid-level employee supervised by a fresh from business school 30-year old. That’s not even considering the diversity of religion, race, gender, political leanings, educational background, and personal beliefs.

While, laws against discrimination of all kinds have eliminated blatant racism, prejudice, and stereotypes can still cloud people’s judgment. This false sense of a ‘team’ ruins people’s ability to work cohesively with each other. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to promote true collaboration that’s not inhibited by the differences of a diverse team. Failure to do this may result in lack of cooperation, a drop in productivity and revenue.

How to Make a Diverse Team Work Together as One

1. Build Open and Unbiased Communication Lines

The first step for a diverse team to come together is to establish a culture of free speech, where no one is judged, ridiculed or laughed at for what they have to say — be it a widely accepted idea or a strange innovation.

For starters, you can leave all non-management related decision making open for dialogue with your team.

For example, they can talk about upcoming holiday leave and work schedules. Everyone will probably have their own interests, and opinions about their team mate’s ‘over long vacations’ or ‘unfair work distribution,’ some might even think you’re playing favorites. Your job is to facilitate the dialogue as a moderator, not as their boss. Ensure that everyone’s side is heard, along with their suggested solutions.

After the discussion, your team will have gotten to know each other better. They’ll reveal a bit about their personal lives while negotiating for their preferred holiday leave/shift, and they’ll make concessions with each other, too. It’s an excellent discussion for getting to know each other and learning to solve problems, or negotiate as a team.

2. Celebrate Failures and Achievements as a Team

Praising individual contributions of employees work well on one-on-one talks, but praising that individual in front of the team isn’t the best way to promote collaboration in an already estranged group.

The rise of one star employee often creates unnecessary feelings of bitterness, allegations of favoritism, and an unhealthy spirit of crab mentality in the team. Those not praised will be reluctant to try harder next time, while others may think working alone is the only way to gain recognition for themselves.

Next time your team accomplishes something, praise them as a whole. When they fail, reprimand or coach them as a team, too.

But how can you implement this, exactly?

Let’s say your team has a monthly quota or a certain performance metric to meet. Most months, two high-performing team members drag your team just above the passing mark, while the rest are struggling or else just going through the motions.

In this scenario, you can divide your team into two smaller groups each led by one of the aforementioned high performers. Emphasize the star employee’s role is to help others in improving their performance, not in hitting the quota or metric. This way, the top performers are given a new challenge to conquer and are learning to collaborate with their teammates at the same time. The non-performers, on the other hand, are given hands-on support and coaching, so they’re not just waiting in the sidelines.

3. Don’t Sweep Conflicts Under the Rug Just Because

Conflicts arise because people have differing opinions. Sometimes, teammates can get into each other’s nerve, upset each other’s feelings, or unknowingly insult a team member’s idea by opposing it.

Disagreements can interrupt production, yes. But avoiding all conflict is also unhealthy. If a disagreement sparks because of a difference in opinion about procedures, let it play out. See if the opposing side has a valid idea worth testing.

Don’t just sweep it under the rug by commanding your team to “drop it.” Innovation can rise from conflicts, you know.

It’s difficult to manage a diverse workplace, especially if you have no plan of action. So let this article be your guide in building a diverse team. Finally, don’t be complacent when you see a semblance of team work because it’s easy to undo all that camaraderie in a day.

Michelle Riklan is president of Riklan Resources and an instructor for The Leader’s Institute® in the Northeast region. She is based in Trenton, NJ but she also teaches in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other Northeast cities.

Common Team Challenges: Lack of Trust


‘Trust’ is one of those buzz words that can mean many things, depending on the context. The definition of trust used by Patrick Lencioni in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is the notion that you have confidence that your co-workers have your best interests at heart. No one is out to get you, just waiting for you to screw up. That kind of trust is not common enough in today’s workplace.

When working with clients on team building programs, I always ask the question, “What is going on with your team that makes this program timely for you?”. The answers vary quite broadly. Sometimes a group is just looking to have fun together and give back to the community. But sometimes, there are challenges with trust lurking beneath the surface.

When trust is lacking in the workplace, it leads to an unwillingness to be vulnerable with one another. This means that we don’t ask for help when we’re struggling. We don’t offer help. We don’t readily admit to mistakes. In short, we are less invested in our team. We are more likely to create harmful silos that keep us walled off from one another, rather than helpful silos where we reach out to capitalize on each other’s strengths.

Take Lencioni’s definition of trust into consideration for a moment. And then ask yourself. Do you trust your co-workers? Are you willing to admit to your own weaknesses and mistakes without fear that they will be used against you?

If the answer is ‘yes’, then good for you! If the answer is ‘no’, then here’s a challenge for you. What are you doing that contributes to that atmosphere? You can’t control how others behave. But you have 100% control over how you behave. Are there small ways in which you are signaling to your co-workers that you don’t trust them? Or that you are not trustworthy? Think about it. And then commit to doing one thing this week that will help promote trust in your workplace. Good luck!

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude is Vice President of Instruction for the Northeast region. She is based in Detroit, Michigan, but she also teaches in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toronto, Baltimore and other Northeast cities.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

How to Choose a Great Icebreaker Activity

By Ellen Patnaude

team building icebreaker activityLooking for some fun and interactive team building icebreaker activities? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing or choosing a team building icebreaker. When a group first gathers for a meeting, conference, or new activity, it is often a good idea to begin with an icebreaker exercise. The main purpose of an icebreaker activity is to make sure the group will be receptive to whatever activity is coming next. You want to get the group warmed up. You want them to interact with each other. If they are moving around, any nervousness or resistance they feel towards the main activity will naturally be lowered.

Here are some of the qualities of a good icebreaker activity:

  • They are brief. A generally good icebreaker activity last between 2-5 minutes. If it goes any longer than 10 minutes, it risks taking over the broader purpose of the meeting or gathering. Remember that the icebreaker is there to setup something more important.
  • They are interactive. As we said, the main purpose of an icebreaker is to get the group mentally ready and more receptive to the main activity coming up next. Ways to make an icebreaker interactive include having the group move around the space in some way; talking to each other, either in pairs or small groups; or giving them a brief assigned task to complete.
  • They are memorable. The best icebreaker activities are ones that the participants will remember for a while after the fact.
  • They are creative. There are a million ways to spin off new variations even on the oldest exercises. So even if you decide to use a “tried and true” icebreaker with your group, find a way to customize the experience to your group. Get creative!
  • They are Fun! – For a group to relax, it is essential that the icebreaker exercise incorporate fun! As a result, participants will be more relaxed and open to the main event that’s coming next when they are laughing and having a good time.

Where can you find a good icebreaker activity?

You can find tons of ideas for activities on the internet, in the library, or by asking around! SO, if you use the criteria in this article to gauge the quality of the activity, you can make sure you are selecting one that will be a good fit for your group. So to get the best out of your group at your next meeting, conference or activity, consider including an icebreaker that will start everyone out on the right foot.

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude is Vice President of Instruction for the Northeast region. She is based in Detroit, Michigan, but she also teaches in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toronto, Baltimore and other Northeast cities.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

Review of a Few Team Building Tips

Below are a few team building articles and team building tips that we published on the blog in past months. (Sometimes, real good ideas get buried, so here is a review of a few.)

team building tips

One of my favorite team building games or team icebreaker activities is sometimes called The Helium Stick or even Lighter than Air. The rules are pretty simple. Organize your group into small groups of eight to ten people (you’ll need at least six people per team to make it work, but more than eight or […]

Do You Really Know How To Motivate Your Team?

Leadership, And Management Skills Are Not Coded Into Our DNA. Do You Really Know How To Motivate Your Team? Leadership and management skills are not coded into our DNA. But you hear people say, “He or she is a born leader.” Well….not really. They may know less about their own team and what motivates it […]

Free Team Building Activity-Playing Card Shuffle

Here is a free team building activity that can insert a ton of energy into your meeting right as you get started. If you have a big group that you need to organize into smaller teams (or tables), The Playing Card Shuffle is a great way to do it. To setup the room in advance, […]

More team building tips at https://www.leadersinstitute.com/team-building-tips

Summary of a Few Good Team Building Tips

Below are a few team building tips and team building articles that were publish in the past. (Sometimes, real good ideas get buried in the blog, so here is a review of a few.)

Three Requisites for Corporate Team Building and Motivation

There are three attitudes that need to be present in each team member to make the team a peak performer. Those three are confidence, humility, and commitment. When these three are present in each member of a team then the groundwork is set for an efficient, effective team. Of course a team can be effective […]

Team Motivation: Teams Learn Faster When They’re Having Fun

Need some Team Motivation? It’s common knowledge that people learn faster and produce more when they are having fun. So why should work be any different? There are several ways to add fun to any project […]

Improve Your Team Culture with Team Building Activities

Team building activities help build a purposeful team culture within your organization. One of the reasons companies have offsite team meetings is to, not only share and gather information, but also to improve their team culture by giving people “face time”. If you’re planning an offsite meeting, here are some things to keep in mind […]

More team building tips at https://www.leadersinstitute.com/team-building-tips

The Success Cycle–A Boys and Girls Club Story

The Boys & Girls Club is and has always been a positive place for kids. It offers children and teens a supervised environment where they learn to set and achieve goals while ensuring a cycle of success for their futures.

Nobody knows this better than Shannon Hyland. As a child Shannon lived in North Las Vegas and found the street was not a safe place to hang out. He began going to the Boys and Girls Club of North Las Vegas. There he found acceptance and guidance. He learned about goal setting. His grades improved and he gained confidence. Shannon now lives in Bethesda, Maryland and is the Chief Financial Officer of RADIUS Travel.

His company was planning an international conference in Las Vegas. It was decided the agenda should have a team building exercise with a philanthropic component. They selected Build-a-Bike© from The Leader’s Institute. From the very beginning there was no question who the charity would be. Pictured to the right is Shannon receiving a thank you letter from Josh at the Boys and Girls Club of North Las Vegas. RADIUS Travel was able to provide thirteen boys and girls a new bicycle and helmet. Several of the children indicated this was the first bicycle they had ever owned. The employees of RADIUS travel learned a bit about team building and a lot about the great work of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

You want to see what a success “cycle” looks like? Take a looks at these smiling faces.

Cycles of Success

Corporate Team Building Ideas to Add Pep and Energy to Your Conference

Here are three Corporate Team Building Ideas that are guaranteed to add pep and energy to your next conference and turn it into the home run hit you have been looking for. Have your quarterly, bi-annual, or annual conferences become dull and boring? As the planner for your conference, you feel the weight of trying to come up with something different every time and only ending up exhausted and under-appreciated. Do you put a ton of time and effort coming with topics and speakers that are important to the success of your company only to hear complaints about, “Why this again”? “We do the same thing every time”. “What’s the purpose anyway”?

  1. Think about adding a philanthropic team building event to your schedule. A philanthropic corporate team building event is designed to be high energy, tons of fun, and most importantly give back to your local community and or charities. Your group will learn how to brain storm together, problem solve, lead, follow, compete and collaborate in an extremely dynamic fast-paced team activity. It’s a great way to take time away from company spreadsheets, calendars, and performance charts yet at the same time learning and experiencing the principles that lead to long term success. The team event by itself is a ton of fun but the icing on the cake is presenting items you have built to underprivileged children. It’s even better than Christmas morning! Your team will love it and the event will become the anchor that helps them remember all of the other conference items you have worked so hard to put together.
  2. If you want to scale it back a little but still have a lot of fun, think about doing a short team event that can spice up an afternoon session or get people excited right before they head to lunch. Murder Mystery events are a great way to add a little life to your conference. They are fun, energetic and can fit into a short 60-90 minute time frame for a group of 20-50 participants. If you have a small group of 20-50 participants it is a great way to bring everyone together. If you have several hundred participants it is perfect for break-out sessions. Murder Mystery events are like live games of the old board game Clue. Your group will be divided into smaller investigation units to uncover the facts of a murder that took place right before their eyes. Each group will have to learn how to work together, problem solve, and weigh the importance of information as they investigate. It’s an extremely fun way to mimic what corporate teams do in the real world every day.
  3. Another great way to break up your conference is with an outdoor scavenger hunt or Camaraderie Quest. A Camaraderie Quest is like a treasure hunt. Think of being dropped in the middle of the set of the movie “National Treasure”. Your team will be given a set of clues and tasks they must perform as a group. It will take ingenuity, creativity, and developing a game plan in order to succeed. Your team will have an incredibly fun time as they work their way through a tailor-made quest in a downtown historic center, shopping center, or museum. It’s a great way to get them out of their conference chairs and on their feet, yet at the same time learning the valuable lessons of team building and leadership.

Any of these corporate team building events can add energy to your conference or convention, but remember that the larger your group becomes, the more that you’ll want to rely on professional team building organizers or facilitators. Otherwise, you will be likely to have a big portion of your group standing around and watching while a few of the participants are active. Your team will compliment you greatly.

Joe Jessop is a speaker and trainer specializing in Team Building in San Francisco, CA that insert fun and energy into any convention or annual meeting. (https://www.teambuildingsanfranciscoca.com) Joe teaches team building events in major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Las Vegas.

Three Requisites for Corporate Team Building and Motivation

There are three attitudes that need to be present in each team member to make the team a peak performer. Those three are confidence, humility, and commitment. When these three are present in each member of a team then the groundwork is set for an efficient, effective team. Of course a team can be effective without any or all three of these, but it will be much more work and much less of a team effort. Let’s take a quick look at the three and why each is vitally important.


Each team member needs to recognize that they have something to contribute. Each member needs to feel they are a vital key to the team. If this is lacking then participation by that member will be diminished, which in turns affects the rest of the team. When one person’s contributions are lacking then a part of the solution is also missing and it is up to others to pick up the slack.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked a question, you knew the answer, but were reluctant to give it? What happened? Either the person who asked the question has to go fishing for an answer, or someone else gives a different answer than yours, or someone spoke up and gave the same answer as you would have done. What ever happens as a result of your inactivity is different than if you would have answered. By withholding your contribution you have changed the dynamic of the situation. The real problem is that by not responding you have increased the probability that you won’t answer the next time either. Now you are working in a diminished capacity that affects you and the outcome for the rest of the team.

When each person on a team realized and internalized that they are a vital part of the team and has the confidence that their contributions are important the team can begin to approach its best possible working conditions.


This may seem like a contradiction to the previous point, but it is an augment and complimentary. Humility is understanding that your contributions are important, but they are not the most important. It is the realization that you have something to contribute to the team, but so does each team member. The problem with confidence is that it can become overpowering to the point of arrogance and a lack of understanding for fellow team members. Humility keeps the confidence in check by maintaining that each person has a vital and equally important contribution to make to the team.

Humility is a critically important factor in that humility is a key ingredient to unity. The team cannot be unified in purpose and goals unless each member is willing to value all others’ contributions as important as their own. Humility is not self-deprecation, nor is it devaluing yourself or your involvement. It is a position of strength and self actualization where you understand yourself well enough to understand the importance of others, not only of their opinions and contributions, but as valued individuals with contributory strengths, and talents.


The last necessary quality for the most effective team is for each member to be totally committed to the team. This is most difficult because of our society and the low priority it places on commitment. Commitment does not mean I give myself totally until something better comes along. Commitment means I am surrendered to the task at hand until it is completed. It has nothing to do with hurt feelings, other people opinions, disagreements, or anything else except doing whatever it takes to complete the tasks wherein my commitment lies.

Often times the commitment to the team is tempered by whether I get my way, whether I agree, whether I feel valued, whether I like the results, whether… In commitment there is no whether, it is commitment without qualification. The only time to withdraw that obligation is when ethically or morally you are challenged by the decision or outcomes of the teams’ work.

When each team member is recruited for a team because of their talent and need for the task of the team, they need to come with confidence, humility and commitment to assure the best outcome for the team and its work.

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