top of page

One Team-Building Activity Builds Absolutely Nothing

Team-building activities or workshops are misunderstood and hence delivered wrongly.

The purpose of any team-building is to teach leaders and managers how to build a team going forward. Because let's be honest a one-off session will build nothing. Therefore, the session must be all about teaching the team strategies on how they can build a team based on their challenges, available resources & business needs. So, if your trainer is not doing that, look for another one.

When I ask leaders this question "Based on what do you build your team?" I often get no answer. Some would say:

  • Personality

  • Strengths

  • Competence & Expertise

  • Relationships

Which is all fine as long as we have a strategy. But most don't, therefore, the team-building will be just a fun day nothing more. So what strategies can we apply to build a team?

According to the CIA and Gallup, every strong must have four types of people on their teams. Those who:

  • Taking Action (CIA) - Executing (CliftonStrengths)

  • Generate Ideas or Think (CIA) - Strategic Thinking (CliftonStrengths)

  • Build Relationships (CIA) - Relationship Building (CliftonStrengths)

  • Organising Resources & People (CIA) - Influencing Others Around Ideas (CliftonStrengths)

I had an HR VP who built our regional HR team based on our strengths and it worked magic. We were like fitting puzzle pieces. You can try that.

I also had a leader who built our team based on relationships because he was a strong believer that if we had a great relationship combined with his high level of strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities we can tackle any problem. He needed cohesion for his strengths to manifest through his team. How did he do that? Through the encouragement of spending quality time together.

Frequently, we ended up in the pub for a few drinks and downtime after work and he would be there. Had anyone organised it? No! It was natural. We naturally looked for each other’s company. There was no intervention, no team-building, or organised silly games at work. We had a natural chemistry and a boss who never treated us like kids. When we had a conflict, he would say, “I am sure after the second pint in the pub tonight, you guys will figure it out.” And we did just that.


Because we had a leader who created an environment where we could organically build our adult team, in which there were disagreements, arguments, emotions, and sometimes even name-calling or door-slamming during a heated exchange. Five minutes later, we went for lunch together because the ultimate message was; Argue and disagree over tasks and the job, not over personal matters. We were productive!

Other ways to build relationships:

Arrange regular events such as weekly tennis, volleyball, football etc. Sports rules will give the activity structure, but other than that, people are free to do whatever they want. The frequency of the event will gel the team together better than any infrequent team-building activity. If you don’t like sport and would prefer something else after or before work, do that regularly. People will join you, trust me, and they will start to organise themselves accordingly. You want to build good relationships amongst the team members, not a team. Once you have the relationship sorted, the team will build itself. All you have to do is harvest that relationship and turn it into productivity.

Keep in mind, though, that sometimes the team is beyond help, and you must admit that as a leader. In cases like that, you must make tough decisions and build a new team. Don’t be scared to make that choice. Remember, being a good leader is HARD!

If you would like us to help you build a high-performing team send us an email:

101 views0 comments


bottom of page