“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it”— HE Luccock
Team building is an important strategic process. Most organizations dismiss team-building initiatives as a luxury, when in reality they fall under the critical category of employee development. Team-building activities are essential to the development of fully engaged teams. Individual members of teams that are fully engaged are more productive, healthier, safer, more satisfied, and communicate better.[i] Emily Zini, Senior Director of Operations at The Escape Game says that in order to do this, the process of team building needs to be ongoing: “If we want our teams to be fully engaged, ongoing team building is key. Some employers assume once a year is enough… (but) frequency matters. Hosting a team-building event each month is a great way to keep the team connected.”[ii]
Holding a team-building event once a month seems like a lot — but not if team building is as important as Zini says. So how important is it really? In this blog we’ll take a look at what team building is, how it works, and why it’s important. We’ll also show you where you can find quick, easy-to-use, and effective activities, as well as free tools and templates you can use to support your team’s development.
What is Team Building?
Team-building activities include any activity that helps individuals work more effectively as a team. This could include everything from formal training to social activities. Team-building activities should have a heavy emphasis on creating strong relationships — particularly on establishing trust. Trust allows people to take risks, lead with conviction, and follow with confidence. This is how effective teams are made, and it’s also why character plays an important role in building strong teams.
The Role of Character
Character refers to the underlying personal qualities reflected in a person’s behaviour and reputation. Abraham Lincoln once described it as follows: “Character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Character is influential in shaping how others relate to us, and it is often tested during times of trouble — conflict, temptation, or change. Developing strong character in leaders and team members is critical for building a team, because it is what establishes a common set of virtues and values.
Why Teams Need Building
No matter how big or small, all teams require team building efforts in order to perform to the best of their ability. Some teams might work together more intuitively than others, but all teams benefit from team building. Team-building activities help teams work better together by:
- Improving patterns of communication
- Helping people understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses
- Building trust through shared experience
- Making decision-making more efficient through practice
- Improving employee engagement and job satisfaction through friendship and camaraderie
Why Team Building Matters
Countless studies have demonstrated the importance of strong teams. For example, a 2006 Harvard Business School study found that surgeons performed better when they were surrounded by a team they were familiar with, rather than a team of people they were unfamiliar with — even when the surgeon had operated in that hospital before.[iii] This study highlights the value of existing relationships, not only to teamwork, but also to objective individual performance on-the-job. Knowing — and trusting — the people that you work with can improve communication, engagement, job satisfaction, and performance. Here are just a few more statistics that highlight the importance of investing in your employees and your business by building strong teams:
- Studies show that an engaged workforce can generate double the amount of revenue compared to a disengaged workforce[iv]
- 1 in 3 employees say that fostering a collaborative culture leads to increased loyalty[v]
- Feelings of isolation decrease employee productivity by 21%[vi]
- When employees are given time to socialize, on-the-job communication patterns improve by more than 50%[vii]
- 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project[viii]
Team Building Based on Leader Character
Now that we know what team building is, why it’s important, and the role that leader character plays in building an effective team, let’s talk about how you can build strong teams by developing leader character. Below are three basic steps you can follow to build a character-based team-building process:
- First, gauge where your team is at in terms of individual character and collective cohesion. To do this, you will need an objective leader character assessment like the Leadership Character Insight Assessment (LCIA).
- Next, host a team-building session that addresses individual character development in the context of collective group development. To do this, use SIGMA’s How to Use the LCIA for Team Building guide. This guide provides a step-by-step template you can follow to deliver an impactful character-developing session for your team. You’ll find everything you need, including email templates, session slides, discussion questions, and activities.
- Finally, be sure to follow Emily Zini’s advice and add team-building activities to your ongoing development process. Check in on each team member’s character development by using surveys, one-on-one meetings, or collective brainstorming sessions. Once you know where the group’s strengths and weaknesses lie, you can cater your team-building activities to meet the team’s development needs.
Looking for More?
If you’re interested in learning more about leader character, explore SIGMA’s Leadership Character Insight Assessment (LCIA). This test was specifically designed to measure the key dimensions of leader character. Each assessment comes with a personalized report that provides an analysis of your scores, next steps for development, and helpful resources for further education. You can use the LCIA to help your leaders understand themselves, each other, and work together more effectively as a team.
If you have any questions, or would like support facilitating your team-building session, contact us today. SIGMA has worked with more than 8,500 public and private organizations across North America., Our expert team-building consultants are available to support your organization’s employee development initiatives.
Try the LCIA for Free
Are you curious about the LCIA? Would you like to learn more? Check out our limited-time, LCIA Free Trial to test our online platform, get a sneak peek at what it’s like to take the assessment, and receive a personalized report with your leader character results. If you have questions about your scores, feel free to call or email Ruby (below). Ruby is one of our best leader character coaches; she would be happy to discuss your results and tell you a little more about the LCIA.
Talk to Ruby
Ruby Nadler, Ph.D., Leadership Consultant
Ruby has a Ph.D in Cognition and Perception, as well as specific training in mindfulness and positive psychology. She brings this expertise to SIGMA’s executive coaching programs. In 2015 she was awarded a two-year Ontario Centers of Excellence TalentEdge Fellowship, and her research has been featured on CBC, BBC Radio, Happify, and NPR. Call or email Ruby – she would be happy to answer questions about the LCIA, leader character, coaching, etc.
Phone: 1-800-401-4480 ext. 223
[i] Harter, J. (August 26, 2018). Employee Engagement on the Rise in the U.S. GALLUP. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/241649/employee-engagement-rise.aspx.
[ii] Douglas, E. (June 30, 2022). Team building: Is investing in comradery the key to retention?. HRD. Retrieved from https://www.hcamag.com/ca/specialization/employee-engagement/team-building-is-investing-in-comradery-the-key-to-retention/411545.
[iii] Adler P., Clark K. Behind the learning curve: A sketch of the learning process. Management Sci. (1991) 37(3):267—281
[iv] TeamStage. (2022). Team Building Statistics: Effectiveness and Engagement in 2022. TeamStage. Retrieved from https://teamstage.io/team-building-statistics/#:~:text=experience%20their%20benefits.-,Top%20Team%20Building%20Statistics%3A%20Editor’s%20Choice,are%20crucial%20to%20corporate%20success.
[vi] Hickman, A., & Wigert, B. (2020). Lead Your Remote Team Away From Burnout, Not Towards It. GALLUP. Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/312683/lead-remote-team-away-burnout-not-toward.aspx.
[vii] Pentland, A “S”. (April 2012). The New Science of Building Great Teams. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/04/the-new-science-of-building-great-teams.