Are Corporate Team Building Events Wasting Our Time?

Corporate Team Building Events WP

Bowling nights. Paper tower building. Assault courses. These are just a handful of corporate team building events that employees have been told to take part in to improve team harmony. But could they just be a waste of our time?

The creator of the workplace advice column Ask a Manager, Alison Green believes that corporate team building events might not be as beneficial as they might seem on the surface. In fact, some events set up by businesses and company firms might even be detrimental to a team’s harmony in the workplace. The reliance on organizing these types of team building exercises either once or twice a year can be something that workers dread, rather than look forward to. So why do employers still rely on corporate team building events to try and make teams gel better?

The Key to Team Building

According to Green, the reliance on using these exercises and organised days can signal the attributes of a poor manager. As Green comments in her BBC Business column, good managers should be focusing on how a team runs on a day to day basis, not just at certain points in the year. “Good managers prioritise communication, co-operation and morale year-round, not just for the duration of a team-building event. And good managers build strong teams by having people work together on projects with clear goals, clear roles, and appropriate feedback and recognition; by creating opportunities for people to get a deeper understanding of each other’s work; and by giving people the chance for meaningful input into the direction of the team. People are more likely to feel like part of a real team if they have a chance to share their input and talk over challenges, and if they see that input is welcome and truly considered.”

Workers Fearful of Corporate Team Building Events

It’s not just Green’s comments that establish a belief that corporate team building events could be a waste of time.  Kate Mercer, co-founder of the Leaders Lab consultancy firm, wants employers to understand that some workers are fearful of corporate team building events due to their personality or relationships in the workplace with others.

“Not everybody looks forward to having attention drawn to themselves in roleplay or other team-building activities. They may not be fit, confident or sociable enough. Some people actively fear the embarrassment and humiliation of these events. And it’s a mistake to claim glibly that it will be alright on the night. For some employees, team-building activities actually drive a wedge between them, their colleagues and employer, rather than bringing them together and fostering engagement and team loyalty.”

Do you enjoy taking part in corporate team building events? Or do you try to avoid them at all costs?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Sam Rose

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