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Startling Team Building Mistakes You Should Never Make

Successful team building events are fantastic opportunities to engage employees, build trust, and boost productivity. However, there are right and wrong ways to organize corporate events for your team. And making mistakes in planning team building events could severely undermine their effectiveness. Typical team building mistakes are a lack of direction, funding, or imagination. In addition, some managers make the mistake of leaving organizing a team building event to the last minute.

What are the biggest team building mistakes to avoid at all costs? How can you avoid common pitfalls that erode the success of team building events? You have probably asked yourself these questions if you have had to plan activities for staff.

So, you’ve been assigned to organize a corporate event for team building. How can you avoid the most common team building mistakes that could ruin the event? Please read on to find out.

Why Team Building is Crucial for a Success Business

Team building has many benefits for businesses, large and small. However, it’s a huge mistake to assume that putting together a group of employees makes a team. Instead, the individual members must learn how to work together — in other words, teamwork. So, think of team building as the glue holding everything together.

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Only when you avoid typical team building mistakes can you achieve success in a team. For example, well-planned team activities create a sense of unity, foster healthy communication, increase productivity, and help eliminate conflict in the workplace. Therefore, planning events for team building creates a healthier workplace environment.

14 Team Building Mistakes You Must Avoid

No one wants to make mistakes. But when you are responsible for getting a team of employees together and engaging them in fun, constructive, and positive activities, mistakes are out of the question. Apart from wasting corporate money, making mistakes in team building activities will have the opposite effect — team spirit will crumble.

Here are the 14 mistakes you should avoid with team building.

1. Leaving planning until the last minute is a mistake

Waiting until the last minute to prepare for an event is a big mistake. Planning is the foundation of a successful event. And like any building, if the foundation is poor, cracks will begin to appear, or the structure could even sink. It’s the same with planning a team building event.

Therefore, start preparing as soon as you know you’re going to host an event. This gives you time to think about goals and activities and find suitable locations for the activities. Some ideas for team building include interactive entertainment, rescue missions, outdoor adventures, or group challenges.

2. Showing preference for some team members

While there may be team members you prefer, it’s a major mistake to show this. Playing favorites in team building activities make others feel left out. In the worst-case scenario, they could treat the favored employee differently. The result? A disjointed team and friction between members.

The problem is that you may not know you’re showing favoritism. So, getting feedback from trusted team members is a good idea. But if your mindset is to avoid playing favorites at all costs, you will avoid the common pitfall of showing bias.

3. Not having specific goals

A lack of specific goals is a recipe for a team building disaster. Of course, the ultimate goal is to develop your team successfully. However, the goal of “team building” is too broad to be helpful.

Therefore, you must define goals before you start planning. For example, do you want to improve team members’ communication skills? Celebrate a recent success? Communicate company values? Or do you want to strengthen leadership skills through team building? So, have a specific goal for each event.

After you have defined your goals, you must communicate them with team members. This gives the team guidance, clarity, and direction because they know what to expect. And if you plan well, you will get people excited before the actual event.

4. Treating team building activities as a one-off instead of a regular process

It’s impossible to plan one day of team building activities and expect long-term results. Team building is an ongoing process, and it’s vital to plan events regularly. For example, company goals may change, new team members come on board, and team dynamics constantly change.

Therefore, planning regular group activities helps build your team, fostering trust and healthy communication in an ever-changing corporate environment.

7. Not trusting team members

One of the biggest mistakes managers make is distrusting anyone on the team. Distrust creates an unhealthy environment because it stifles open communication and honesty. This negatively impacts team spirit and causes team members to rely on themselves to get things done.

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You can avoid this team building mistake by promoting honest and open communication. Providing constructive feedback and allowing team members to make decisions is also vital. The teamwork should be based on trust and respect, not suspicions and ridicule.

8. Promoting unhealthy competition is a team building mistake

Competition has its place in team building exercises. However, unhealthy or too much competition among teammates can harm morale. For example, not everyone has a competitive nature, which can cause some to perform poorly in an ultra-competitive environment. Additionally, too much competition breeds resentment — something that team building events should avoid.

Of course, friendly competition between team members is a great way to boost involvement and motivate everyone to participate.

When organizing effective team building events, ensure that everyone is working toward common goals. Then celebrate team successes and embrace differences between team members. It’s also good to be on the lookout for anyone getting too heated or overly competitive.

9. Having unrealistic expectations when planning a team building event

While you must have some expectations of how the team should perform, keeping them realistic is crucial. Team building is a continuous process, and it may take time to reach goals. Unfortunately, unrealistic expectations only result in stress, disappointment, exhaustion, and a feeling of failure.

One way to keep expectations realistic is to plan team activities based on SMART goals. This means that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Then, in time, you can expect to develop a high-performing team.

10. Micromanaging team building activities

Avoid the mistake of thinking you must control every aspect of team building planning. Micromanaging involves the following:

  • giving overly detailed instructions
  • making decisions others should make
  • being overly involved in every part of the event.

Unfortunately, micromanagement only weakens the team rather than builds it.

To prevent this mistake, assign roles for organizing team building events and put members in ownership of their decisions. This leadership style encourages creativity, fosters trust, and helps build strong teams.

11. Planning team events when there is a problem

One pitfall some team leaders make is planning events to fix problems. Taking a reactive approach to team building rarely improves performance. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect. This is because everyone comes to the event in a negative mindset. It can waste time and resources because you may not address the underlying issues.

Team building means taking a proactive approach to prevent serious issues from developing. Think of it like taking your auto for a regular service. It’s a fact that servicing a vehicle regularly makes it perform better, saves on gas, and prevents major breakdowns and expensive repairs.

In the same way, every team building event is like taking the team for a service.

12. Allowing cliques to develop

Naturally, people gravitate toward others when they’ve got things in common. However, letting cliques develop in team building exercises prevents teams from growing. For example, this could happen if certain team members always choose each other to form activity groups. The result is distrust, a toxic work environment, and isolation — the opposite of what you’re hoping to achieve.

During team building activities, encourage members to work with different employees. Or you could predefine the group members who will work together during events. For example, if you’re organizing a charitable event, assign groups beforehand or plan activities that keep members moving around.

13. The mistake of forgetting to get feedback

After the team building activities, it’s crucial to follow up and get vital feedback. You may be so exhausted after the event that you forget to find out how it went. Team members can let you know how they benefited and what could be done better the next time. Even if you get tough feedback, you can use this to improve the next time.

Remember that connecting with the entire team after the event is another way to develop open communication.

14. Not planning the next event

After a successful team building event, don’t make the mistake of leaving the next one to chance. With the success of your recent event in mind, you will have plenty of ideas for the next one. So, build on the momentum and continue to build your team.

Team Building Events You Should Never Make — A Takeaway

Developing stronger teams through fun corporate events requires avoiding common team building mistakes. Team building can help all different types of people learn how to work together for the achievement of company goals. In addition, effective team building events can help develop a positive company culture.

Do you want to plan an event but are unsure which type of team building event is right for your business? Please find out how Full Tilt can help you organize your next event by contacting a member of our team today at 310-400-6285 or by filling out this easy online form.