Building a team that is effective and efficient every single day is not something you do once and then forget about. Team building ideas should be something that effective managers are continually investigating. At the same time, managers must know their role in the team-building process. Managers are there to guide team building activities to ensure they are uniting the team and not dividing them. At team building events you should not forget that there are certain barriers that naturally exist between managers and non-management members of the team—the most important of which is power and authority. However, when managers show that they can laugh with everyone else in the group, and—especially—can poke fun at themselves, the barriers come down, and the manager is viewed as a “regular person,” like everyone else on the team. This is essential to open communication between bosses and their staff.
When coming up with team building ideas you should be looking for ways in which you can initiate jokes and humour. Doing this means that managers tend to be viewed as a friend, rather than a boss. In turn, this friendship opens up more comfortable and honest communication. On top of this, the increased bonding of the team that results from shared humour also increases team productivity and performance.
Shared laughter and a spirit of fun generate a bonding process in which people feel closer. This is especially true when laughing in the face of adversity. This emotional glue enables team members to stick together on the tough days when members of the team need each other to complete a project or to hit a deadline. Check out how laughter can help your teams here.
A common complaint in many organisations is a lack of good communication with management. A lighter atmosphere, and a manager who shares humour with the team, is a powerful tool in opening up the channels of communication. It frees team members up to communicate openly, without fear of reprisal. This is especially important when an employee knows that his/her opinion differs from that of management.
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Team Building Events
One of the by-products of shared laughter and good open communication is a growing sense of trust and positivity within a team. Shared laughter creates an emotional bond that helps us trust others. Without that trust communications between management and staff can become defensive or even distorted, setting up future misunderstandings. Therefore team building events should focus on laughter and ease of communication between staff and management.
When teams have fun on the job and share laughter, they enjoy their work more; and people who like their jobs will go that extra mile when they need to get the job done. Teams that share laughter hate to let each other down; again, it’s that common bond that laughter helps to create. If you incorporate laughter into your team building events you will be creating an atmosphere of fun in the working day. And if your workplace is a fun, happy and positive environment, you’re less likely to have staff who phone in sick; they don’t want to let the team down AND why be anywhere else than that fun place called work!
Instilling fun into your team building activities and encouraging shared laughter will help to reduce daily stress levels for all staff. Humour, and the lighter mental attitude it brings, helps sustain a focussed mental state required when the time comes to work under pressure. It gives a team member the knowledge that this time of pressure is only going to be around until this piece of work gets done. And so it gives employees the emotional flexibility required to bend without breaking.
Also, as anyone who’s ever worked on a team knows, even when it’s only a few team members who are experiencing stress, their emotional state can quickly spread to other team members, interfering with the entire team’s performance. The greater the percentage of team members who receive the stress-reducing effect of humour, the greater the team’s chances of success on a project.
Laughter and humour in the workplace will also lead to staff who are more creative in their thinking and in their problem-solving. Teams that share laughter are more open to offering up ideas because the fear of rejection or ridicule is very much reduced. This leads to a positive environment where risks can be taken and where team members are more confident in proposing more unusual and innovative solutions.
So now you have every reason to Lighten Up! Remember where you heard it; teams that laugh, work!
To find out how laughter yoga can help your next team building event, check out this laughter yoga for your team’s page.