It’s a day that some employees look forward to with great anticipation. It’s also a day that some employees dread more than a visit to the dentist for a root canal. Team building, when it is done right, can bring very different people together to create fantastic results and improve productivity. When done the wrong way, it can create the opposite results. Here are the pros and cons of team building to consider before you hold your next event.
What Are the Pros of Team Building?
1. It increases understanding.
Each person has their own unique experiences, education, and opinions. How each person on a team looks at a problem is going to be a little different on the individual level. Team building helps the individuals of a team be able to communicate better with one another so that a greater understanding of these multiple experiences can be obtained.
2. It reduces stress levels.
Team building gets people out of the office and away from the politics that are always present. The goal is to have fun. Even those who hate team building exercises are appreciative of the fact that they have some time away from a stressful work project in most cases.
3. It improves productivity.
When a team understands one another on a core level, they get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows the team to adapt to one another, allowing for a greater overall productivity level.
4. It fosters unity toward an overall mission or vision.
A company will generally work toward a mission statement or long-term vision, but that can get lost in the drudgery of daily work. Team building can help people reset what they see, allowing them to take a look at the greater perspective, which may not always be available to them.
5. It can create friendships or alliances.
Office politics is generally fostered through negative energy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend – that’s the perspective. Team building fosters alliances through positive energy instead, creating the need for people to join forces in order to solve problems.
6. It helps to develop team roles.
Every team member has a certain role to which they are naturally suited. Some people are more creative. Others are good at delegation. You’ll have that one person who can find the smallest errors quickly and know how to fix the problem immediately. By creating exercises that focus on these roles, a team can find their individual niches and be more comfortable at what they do.
What Are the Cons of Team Building?
1. The results achieved from team building are generally short-term in nature.
Most teams return to their baseline soon after a team building event has been completed. Even in extensive team building efforts, the return to the previous baseline can occur in 60 days or less. This means teams must include team building as part of their regular routine for it to be beneficial.
2. It can be a costly process.
If you are taking time for team building activities, then you are losing time to be productive. Not only do you have to pay for the cost of the activity or event, but you also have to pay the cost of labor for that team even though they aren’t being productive. Good luck trying to get a team to take an unpaid day away from work to spend it with their co-workers as a way to save costs – it just doesn’t work.
3. People need time to get comfortable with a team building exercise.
You’ll have your extroverts who jump right into an activity like it’s a giant free cheesecake. Then you’ll have introverts shy away from an exercise like it has an odor that is reminiscent of a closet full of Limburger cheese. Most people need some time to grow familiar with the processes of team building, which means most activities must last a full day at the very least.
4. Some people just don’t work well together.
There will always be a few people who don’t mesh well together. Forcing these folks to work together is like trying to force a square peg through a round hole. If you’re not watching the activities closely, you may find that more resentment is being built through the team building efforts than positivity.
The pros and cons of team building show that greater productivity and communication can be achieved. As long as a team is allowed to be creative, step back from the workplace, and have some control over the process, it is generally a successful experience.