What is the Purpose of Team Building?

The purpose of team building is to enable team members to learn and develop teamwork skills to create an effective team with a common goal. When deciding on what form a team building activity should take, you need to carefully consider what aspects of the team you want to improve. Team building activities should have a specific purpose.
Far too many team building activities are used in a generic fashion and expected to create a cohesive team with great leadership. However, it is the role of the facilitator or instructor to take the needs of the team and tailor the team buiding activity to focus on specific training needs. When the team gets stuck, the facilitator should be supportive and give suggestions so that the team can move in a positive direction.

Developing or Testing Leadership

One key area that team building can help with is that of leadership. Some people are gifted with an innate ability to understand how to organise and inspire groups of people inton cohesive teams. For others, these skills can be learned.
The sort of team building activities suitable for developing leadership require elements of problem solving, delegation, coordination and direction. The team leader should be given the opportunity to learn and develop leadership skills that appropriately utilise the talents of each member of the team.
My own preferred style of developing leaders is to provide a problem or challenge where I can let them explore their own leadership style, whilst giving suggestions on how their approach and actions might influence the team. Letting a developing leader fail is only useful if they can learn from their mistakes and be shown how to improve. Sometimes it is better to support new leaders by giving enough support and suggestions that prevents them from failing, whilst giving them the freedom to test ideas and approaches.
Good leadership team building activities include:

  • Military team building activities
  • Blindfold instructions (putting up a tent)
  • Raft building or sailing

Team Bonding

Getting members of a team to bond can be quite critical in high performance teams. When you need team members to trust and depend on each other for their specific skills or manpower, the team bond needs to be strong.
The best way to get teams, especially new teams, to bond is through shared experiences. Nothing too arduous as that can often destroy teams. What you need is a shared learning experience where everyone gets to know each other a little bit better and to understand each other’s talents and skills. Not everyone can complete those physical team building challenges, but if presented with a team problem to solve, that quiet guy or girl may just surprise you with their ability to map read or knowledge of how to build a catapult that can fling a water bomb further than anyone else.
Some good team bonding activities include:

  • Sailing
  • Go Karting
  • Cooking

Fixing Broken Teams

Fixing broken teams can sometimes be a delicate matter. No one wants to be told they are not performing satisfactorily.