66 team building activities to bring your team together (and have fun!)

on on 35 min read 2 comments
Share

Team building activities can make all the difference when it comes to job satisfaction, employee engagement and organizational success. But even with the best intentions, it’s not sufficient to simply bring a group of people together. Effective team building activities can help your group feel more connected and able to collaborate more effectively.

But how do you choose the right activity, and where do you get started when trying to encourage team bonding or alignement? We're here to help with this collection of simple and effective team building activities!

Building a highly effective team takes effort, consideration, and the deployment of a thoughtful group process. Remember that teams are composed of relationships between people and all relationships need care and attention. The team-building activities below are a great place to start!

That said, some employees may bristle or cringe at the mention of team building activities, and with good reason. Done badly, team building at work can be frustrating, unproductive, or a waste of time for all involved

We’ve put together a collection of proven team-building activities, games, and exercises that cover everything from communication and collaboration to alignment and vision

Whether you’re working in a small team or as part of a large organization, taking the time to develop your team and enable everyone in your group to do their best work is time well spent. Let’s take a look!

What are team building activities? 

Team building is an activity or process designed to help build connections between members of a team, create lasting bonds, and enable better teamwork and working practices.

Team building activities might include running team games and activities, holding group discussions, hosting away days, or simply doing things together as a team. They key is that the exercise is designed to bring your team together in a fun and engaging way.

Building connections, creating alignment and opportunities for team bonding are just some of the benefits of running team building activities in your organization.

What is the main purpose of a team building activity? 

The main purpose of any team-building activity is on improving some aspects of how a team works together while bringing everyone together in a shared experience.

This might include working on communication, collaboration, alignment, team values, motivation, and anything else that can enable a group to work together more effectively. It might also include resolving conflicts, sharing skills, or simply bringing your group together in a shared experience.

Broadly speaking, any team building effort should be designed to help bring team members closer or find ways to first define and then move towards your shared goals as a group.

As Forbes notes, team building is “most important investment you can make for your people.” On this point, it’s worth noting that team building doesn’t just happen during the activity and so being purposeful your choice of exercise is important.

The best team building activities hold space for building connections in a way that spills over into day-to-day work and creates lasting bonds. It’s not enough to throw your team into an escape room or scavenger hunt without first thinking about why or how this will benefit your team!

After you’ve chosen some engaging team building activities, it’s time to design a complete process that will engage your team while achieving your desired outcomes.

SessionLab makes it easy to build a complete team building agenda in minutes. Start by dragging and dropping blocks, add activity timings and adjust your session flow to create an effective session.

A completed agenda created in SessionLab, featuring clear timing and instructions for every activity.

What are the main types of team building activities?

Team building activities are games and exercises that help a group collaborate on a shared goal, discuss important issues constructively, share in a fun experience or find better ways of working together.

These activities can take forms – from quick and funny games you use in your regular meeting, or the may be part of a larger process or team development workshop.

Being purposeful and knowing the objective of your session means you can choose an activity accordingly. Sometimes, your team will come together because they have problems to solve, or you might just want to have fun and celebrate your wins. Pick the right activity for the right time to ensure your team is onboard and ready to engage!

Here are the main categories of team building activity that you might want to use with your team. We’ve made it easy to get started with the right activity for your team by including the length of each game, how many participants can play and how hard it is to run alongside clear instructions.

Team building activities for employees

Starting the team building process can be difficult, especially if you’re working with a new team who don’t yet know each other well. The activities in this section are focused on helping teams and employees get to know each other better and start to develop bonds and trust.

Even if your team has been around a while, learning more about one another and building deeper bonds is useful for both team cohesion and group happiness. These are also great activities to use when trying to improve employee engagement and company culture – any organization is only as strong as the bonds between its people!

Try these team building games for work to encourage conversation and break the ice – especially if you’re working with a remote team who might not be in the office together.

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
3 Question Mingle30 – 602 – 40Low
9 Dimensions Team Building Activity20 – 603 +Low
Awareness Circle10 – 305 +Low
The Four Quadrants Activity30 – 1203 +Low
Just One Lie15 – 305 – 20Low
Life map30 – 603 +Low
Personal Presentations60 – 2402 -40Medium
Passions Tic Tac Toe15 – 3010 +Low

3 Question Mingle

Conversation is often the best starting point when it comes to team building, but without structure, it can be difficult for groups to get moving. In 3 Question Mingle, each team member writes three questions on sticky notes and then has a one minute meeting with another person. They each ask another one question and then trade those post-its. Invite the group to move around the room asking questions in pairs and swapping questions afterwards. 

Not only does this team building activity help an entire team get to know each other, but it also invites the group to ask the questions they want to ask. By combining structure with self direction, you can get your team building workshop off to the right start! Bonus points for adding those sticky notes to a memory wall for later reflection!

3 Question Mingle #hyperisland #team #get-to-know 

An activity to support a group to get to know each other through a set of questions that they create themselves. The activity gets participants moving around and meeting each other one-on-one. It’s useful in the early stages of team development and/or for groups to reconnect with each other after a period of time apart.

9 Dimensions Team Building Activity

Building better team relationships and improving group dynamics often means sharing something about ourselves and finding space to discuss and be honest. In this team building exercise, give each team member a set of red, green, yellow and blue dots alongside the 9 dimensions you’ll be looking at. Each participant puts a dot on each dimension based on whether they believe they’re crushing it or need to do more work. 

By sharing some of their 9 dimensions, your team gets to surface things they’re proud of, as well as those that need work. You’ll explore what your group is aligned on in the debriefing section and then move forward together as a team.

9 Dimensions Team Building Activity #icebreaker #teambuilding #team #remote-friendly 

9 Dimensions is a powerful activity designed to build relationships and trust among team members.

There are 2 variations of this icebreaker. The first version is for teams who want to get to know each other better. The second version is for teams who want to explore how they are working together as a team.

Awareness Circle

Getting to know people is easier for some members of a group than it is for others. While extroverts can start chatting to new team members with ease, introverts may find it more difficult to bond with their team and create meaningful team bonds.

In this activity, you’ll encourage a group to get to know each other without speaking and show that everyone in a team has a connection. Another great takeaway from this activity is to take note of the diversity (or lack thereof) in the room and consider this as a point for future team development. 

Awareness Circle #teampedia #team #icebreaker #opening 

This activity helps participants to get-to-know each other without saying a word.


Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity

Sometimes pictures are better than words when it comes to helping a team get to know one another. Creative games like this one can also be especially effective at helping introverts or distanced teams share with the group.

Start by handing out sheets of paper and inviting each participant to draw a 2×2 grid and pose four questions to the group. Each team member draws their answer in one of the grid squares and once the time limit is up, invite the group to share. If you’re looking for a fun game that encourages creative thinking while being visual and memorable, look no further! 

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity #team #icebreaker #get-to-know #teambuilding 

The Four Quadrants is a tried and true team building activity to break the ice with a group or team.

It is EASY to prep for and set up. It can be MODIFIED to work with any group and/or topic (just change the questions). It is FUN, COLORFUL and works every time!

Just One Lie

Not all team building games need to reinvent the wheel. Particularly with new teams or groups that aren’t used to team building, keeping it simple with a tried and tested method can be your best bet.

Just One Lie is adapted from the well-known icebreaker two truths and a lie, though encourages participants to mingle and share lots of facts about themselves with one another – great for breaking the ice and getting to know one another too!

Just One Lie #icebreaker #energiser #team #get-to-know 

This method is adapted from the well-known icebreaker ‘Two Truths And A Lie’ to create an activity that you could return to throughout a meeting.

Life Map

Both groups and individuals go through many twists, turns and changes throughout their life. At its best, team building not only helps create better teams but allows time for reflection and deeper sharing between participants.

With Life Map, encourage your group to draw or create a collage of their life story they can then share with the team. This kind of deeper getting to know your exercise can really help bring a team together and allow for meaningful self-reflection too! 

Life map #team #teampedia #icebreaker #get-to-know 

With this activity the participants get to know each other on a deeper level.

Personal Presentation

Team building is all about building trust and openness between teammates. Sharing personal experiences and enlarging the social aspects of the group with presentations not only allows everyone to get to know each other but also encourages team development skills too.

For this team building method, ask each participant to prepare a presentation including three things that have shaped who they are as a person. Encourage creative thinking by asking teams to use simple drawings and words to visualize their presentation too.

Personal Presentations #hyperisland #team 

A simple exercise in which each participant prepares a personal presentation of him/herself sharing several important experiences, events, people or stories that contributed to shaping him or her as an individual. The purpose of personal presentations is to support each participant in getting to know each other as individuals and to build trust and openness in a group by enlarging the social arena.

Passions Tic Tac Toe

Helping employees get to know each other more deeply and connect beyond the scope of their job roles is a great space to explore with a team building exercise. In this activity, your entire team fills in a 3×3 grid with a passion or core value in each of the boxes. Then, ask your group to mingle and compare passions.

When someone finds a match, they each sign for the other person in that square of the grid. Declare your first winner as the person who gets three passions in a row. This team building exercise works well for remote workers and is a great way for your entire team to get to know each other a little better.

Passions Tic Tac Toe #get-to-know #values #icebreaker #thiagi 

This simple game that explores the concepts from these two quotations: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”. —Oprah Winfrey. “Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are.” —Penelope Lively, novelist

Quick team building activities

Team building doesn’t have to take all day. While running dedicated team workshops like a team canvas workshop can have a profound effect on team dynamics, you can also run team building exercises in as little as 5-10 minutes.

In this section, we’ll share some effective yet quick team building activities you might use to warm-up your group or inject some team building into the start of a meeting or event.

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Best and Worst10 – 155 – 10Low
Group Order5 – 105 +Low
Happiness exercise10 – 204 – 30Low
Name Juggling1 – 155 +Low
Open Fist5 – 103 +Low
Cross the Circle5 – 1010 – 25Low
Sync Claps5 – 1010 – 40Medium

Best and Worst

Teambuilding activities are often at their most effective when you ignite the passions of everyone in a group and bring up talking points that enable people to share something of themselves with the team.

Best and Worst asks each participant to ask one question about the best and worst thing they want to learn from the group. For example, “What’s the best recipe you know?” or “What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?” After putting all the questions in a hat and choosing a random pair, invite the group to share their answers and related stories.

Best and Worst #teampedia #get-to-know #opening #icebreaker #team 

This activity could easily break the ice at the beginning of a workshop, enabling participants to get to know each other in a fast process.

Group Order

Supporting the get-to-know process at the start of a session or with a new team can be as simple as asking participants to group themselves together based on what they know about each other and inviting them to find out what they don’t.

This activity requires nothing more than getting your group together in a room and asking them to line themselves up in an order based on a criterion such as distance from home to the workplace, birth date in the calendar year or number of different countries visited. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get people talking and sharing when in pursuit of a common goal.

Group Order #get-to-know #energiser #icebreaker #thiagi #team 

This is an energizing activity that helps members of a group get to know each other, network, and recognize what they have in common.

Happiness Exercise

Good teams know how to appreciate one another and share joyful, happy experiences. When a new team is getting to know each other, using an exercise that encourages the sharing of positive stories and experiences not only allows people to connect but also builds a positive atmosphere in the room.

You might also use this team building activity at work or with a more established team. If your team has been going through a challenging period, it can be transformational to share things that make everyone happy and defuse stress or tension as a team.

Happiness exercise #teambuilding #icebreaker #warm up #remote-friendly 

This exercise is a simple application of the principles of Appreciative Inquiry.

Name Juggling

Working with new teams means having new names to learn. Team building starts with getting to know everyone, but how can we make this more fun and dynamic than simple introductions?

In this get to know you game, start by having everyone stand in a circle and introduce themselves by name. Introduce a ball and have people state someone’s name before throwing the ball to that person. That person thanks the person who passed the ball by name before then passing the ball on to someone else. Once people get comfortable, spice things up by introducing more balls and trying to keep them in the air!

Name Juggling #teampedia #icebreaker #energiser #get-to-know #team 

Name Juggling is another variation of a try-to-learn-everyone’s-name but the game guarantees high energy level as well as some strategic thinking.

Open Fist

Finding you have things in common with other team members is one of the cornerstones of effective teamwork and communication. While conversation games or other team building activities might ask for an in-depth approach, Open Fist helps teams bond with a simple, effective activity.

Sharing little known facts about ourselves can help teams be more cohesive and by limiting the number of shared facts to the amount of fingers on a hand, this quick team building activity can fit into an agenda with ease.

Open Fist #get-to-know #icebreaker #thiagi #team 

Teams work better when they find things in common. Stronger teams reduce turnover, increase pleasant interactions, and improve productivity.

Cross the Circle

Finding common ground and shared experiences across a diverse group is what team building is all about. In this playful team building activity, participants are encouraged to cross the circle in response to questions posed by a person in the middle.

For example, “Cross through the circle if you have worked here more than 5 years.” or “Cross through the circle if you can play an instrument.” After each stage, a new person gets to pose a question and your team gets to know one another and their commonalities in a simple, effective way.

Cross the Circle #teambuilding #get-to-know #energiser #team #thiagi 

This activity provides a playful way for participants to find commonalities among themselves.

Sync Claps

This fast-paced exercise is fun but gently challenging game that helps create focus and presence in a group. Get started by getting your team into a circle and ask them to move a clap around the room quickly by having two members clap at the same time.

By asking your group to synchronize and move quickly, sync claps is a fun way to energize the room and help your group feel more connected.

Sync Claps #hyperisland #energiser 

This circle exercise is simple, but challenging and very effective for generating focus and alignment in a group. Participants stand in a circle and send a clap around the circle. Each clap involves two members of the group clapping their hands at the same time. The group tries to move the clap around the circle faster and faster with as much synchronization as possible. The exercise gets even more challenging when the “double clap” is introduced and the clap can change direction.

Fun team building activities

In an increasingly stressful environment of deadlines and meetings, it’s worth remembering the value of joy, play and simply have fun as a team.

Injecting fun and laughter into your team building event is effective on many levels. We often recommend starting a session with one of these activities, as they can help set a more relaxed and personable tone in an instant.

We’ve also found that some of the more memorable moments of our sessions have come out of these kinds of activities. It’s lovely to have something funny to reference in future meetings too!

Bringing team members out of their shells and loosening them up with a funny game can also help prevent existing hierarchies or team structures from affecting the team building session. 

You can also use these funny team building activities to kick off your session, or when the energy levels drop and you need to get your team re-engaged for the team workshop ahead. Let’s take a look.

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Bang5 – 3010 – 40Low
Build-a-Shake5 – 104 +Low
Count Up5 – 3010 – 40Low
Follow the Leader5 – 202 +Low
Portrait Gallery30 – 602 – 40Low
Snowball20 – 408 – 50Low
Celebrity Party30 – 605 – 20Low
Non-Verbal Improv10 – 205+Low
Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament)5 – 104+Low
The Viking5 – 3010 – 40Low
Wink Murder5 – 156 +Low

Bang

Having fun and energizing your team is a great way to kick off your team building event. Bang is a simple and effective game that encourages quick reactions and fun – perfect for both new and established teams to play together! 

Start by electing a sheriff and having the rest of the group stand in a circle around them. The sheriff spins around and points at one person in the circle and says “bang!” That person then crouches as quickly as possible. The two people on either side of the person crouching must quickly point at each other and shout the other’s name. Whoever does not react quickly enough is eliminated. Try using this one at the beginning of a team building event to really loosen up the group!

Bang #hyperisland #energiser 

Bang is a group game, played in a circle, where participants must react quickly or face elimination. One person stands in the middle of the circle as “the sheriff”, pointing at other players who must quickly crouch while those on either side of them quickly “draw”. A good activity to generate laughter in a group. It can also help with name-learning for groups getting to know each other.

Build-a-Shake

Creating a secret handshake was something many of us did as kids. This team building activity taps into that same sense of creativity and also encourages team members to get to know each other while sharing and building on their handshake in pairs. By moving between pairs and teaching others the steps of your handshake, this also helps create group closeness and cohesion. We love team building activities or office games that encourage people to bring a little of themselves to the table and Build-a-Shake is a great example of that!  

Build-a-Shake #teampedia #energiser #get-to-know #opening #team 

How to introduce yourself in a fun, creative way? Build a handshake!

Count Up

Simple tasks that require team focus, cohesion, and awareness are great for any group working on team building. In Count Up, a team has to come together and count up to twenty with their eyes closed and without any other communication. People cannot say more than one number at a time, and if two people speak at the same time, the group must start over. 

Though it seems simple, this team building exercise can really demonstrate the power of effective teamwork and is a great opener for a team building workshop. 

Count Up #hyperisland #team #energiser #remote-friendly 

In this short exercise, a group must count up to a certain number, taking turns in a random order, with no two people speaking at the same time. The task is simple, however, it takes focus, calm and awareness to succeed. The exercise is effective to generate calm and focused collective energy in a group.

Follow the Leader

When performing online team building, simple activities are often the best strategy in ensuring participation and removing frustration. Follow the Leader is a great team building energiser suitable for online and offline teams.

In virtual settings, put Zoom into gallery view and invite people to perform an action in the frame of their screen that other participants have to follow. Being a little silly is encouraged and this team building exercise often results in laughter and energy as a result! 

Follow the Follower #zoom #virtual #physical #teambuilding #connection #energiser #opening #remote-friendly #ericamarxcoaching 

One person is designated as the leader.  Others copy exactly how the leader moves.  The leader calls on a new person to be the leader, and so on. Follow the follower variation is when the leading gets passed to the entire group and no single person is leading.

Portrait Gallery

Creative team building activities are great for breaking the ice or energising a team via play. In Portrait Gallery, you and your team will collaboratively create portraits of everyone in the group and have a fun, electric set of portraits to display afterward.

Start by splitting your group into two teams. Team B will draw portraits of Team A, though every 10-15 seconds, they’ll pass their current drawing to the next person to continue. By the end of this team building game, you’ll have a set of eclectic portraits for everyone in the group and have broken the ice significantly too! 

Portrait Gallery #hyperisland #team #icebreaker 

The Portrait Gallery is an energetic and fun icebreaker game that gets participants interacting by having the group collaboratively draw portraits of each member. The activity builds a sense of group because it results with each participant having a portrait drawn of him/herself by the other members of the group together. It also has a very colourful visual outcome: the set of portraits which can be posted in the space.

Snowball

Fun team building games are a great way to start any group development process, and they’re even better if they energize the team too! Snowball is a great activity for getting people out of their seats and moving around while also breaking the ice. 

Start by asking a question relevant to your group and ask each participant to write an answer on a piece of paper. Once that’s done, invite everyone to crumple their paper and come to the centre of the room to have a snowball fight! After a few minutes, ask everyone to keep a snowball and find the person who wrote the answer. Not only does this team building exercise invite energy into the room, but it encourages people to get to know each other too.

Snowball #get-to-know #opening #energiser #teambuilding #team 

This is a great activity to get people up and moving around in a playful way while still learning about each other. It can be related to any topic and be played at any time during the group’s life.

Celebrity Party

You’ve likely played the game where you stick the name of a random celebrity on your head while then asking questions to help you guess who it is. (Or at least seen a film where someone else does it!) It’s simple, but it absolutely works when you want to break the ice or just generate some laughter and conversation.

This classic team building game is a great way to warm up large groups, encouraging mingling and have fun too. Ask participants to be creative, keep it light and not to give hints and you have all the makings of an effective team building exercise.

Celebrity Party #teampedia #icebreaker #communication #diversity #team #action 

Great activity to help people warm up in a new environment.

Non-verbal improv

Whether you’re working with remote teams or co-located groups, having fun when you get together should never be undervalued. We love simple games that are also ways to begin conversations about how we’d like to work together more effectively.

This improv game is easy to touch and is a great way to build team connections while raising some smiles. Start by preparing some actions on post-it notes, such as drinking a glass of water or eating pasta. Next, invite participants to mime the action without speaking. Include more difficult and amusing scenarios to challenge the group and create some funny opportunities for team connection!

Non-verbal improv #improv game #energiser #fun #remote-friendly 

An improv game where participants must use non-verbal communication and actions to communicate a phrase or an idea to other players. A fun game that’s a great way to open a discussion on better communication!

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament)

Encouraging team members to play and have fun is an often overlooked aspect of building better teams. Play is an inherently human activity, and by doing this as a team, we can start to see ourselves as more than just a group of people who work together.

In this version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, large groups pair off until only two players remain for a final showdown. We love that losing players become fans of the winners and cheer them on. This is a quick and easy team game that can build excitement and get the group ready for deeper team building activities to come!

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament) #energiser #warm up #remote-friendly 

This is a fun and loud energiser based on the well-known “Rock, Paper, Scissor” game – with a twist: the losing players become the fan of the winners as the winner advances to the next round. This goes on until a final showdown with two large cheering crowds!

It can be played with adults of all levels as well as kids and it always works! 

The Viking

Fun team building activities often ask the group to let go of their inhibitions and find space to be playful and silly. This game from Hyper Island encourages the group to perform some loud, exuberant moves to emulate our favourite historical raiders – the Vikings.

You might use this activity during a longer workshop or meeting to energize a group and create a memorable moment with your team. For bonus points, have a group photographer capture those moments and put them on a history wall for reflection later!

The Viking #hyperisland #energiser 

In this group game, players stand in a circle and perform a series of loud physical moves, passing from one person to the next. When a player hesitates or makes a mistake, he or she is eliminated and the game continues. The game generates laughter and playfulness in the group.

Wink Murder

We love team building exercises that include space for friendly competition and laughter. Wink murder is a variation on a classic party game that asks every team member to try and catch the wink assassin, whose job it is to eliminate the other players by winking at them without being caught.

We especially like the fact this game makes team members to use creative thinking while playing. Run multiple rounds with extra rules such as adding an accomplice to spice things up and have even more fun!

Wink Murder #icebreaker #energizer #group game #team #teambuilding 

A fun energizer where one player must try and eliminate the rest of the team by winking – all without being caught.

Team building activities are especially important in a remote team, where connections and communication skills help reduce feelings of isolation.

Corporate team building activities

Running team building games in the office can be a great way to finish up the week, onboard new team members or just boost employee engagement.

While all of the activities in this post are suitable for the office, the team building games in this section are especially effective in a corporate environment where some team members may need some coaxing or you want to gently introduce important topics.

Try these activities if you want to add an opportunity for your team to bond during a corporate training session, all-hands or other office event.

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Appreciations Exercise10 – 206 – 12Low
Cover Story30 – 902 – 40Medium
Coat of Arms40 – 606 – 12Low
My Favourite Manager20 – 456 – 50Medium
Who are you?10 +2 +Low
History Map60 – 1202 – 40Low
Birds of a feather10 – 1515 – 50Low
Human Knot15 – 307+Low

Appreciations Exercise

Office trivia can be fun, but you know what’s better? Taking a moment to appreciate each team member and uplift everyone in the group.

This method is designed to help everyone in a group receive appreciative feedback on their strengths from others. Start by sitting the group in a circle and having each participant write their name on a piece of paper and pass it to the person on their left. Each person writes down what they have most valued about the person whose name is on the sheet before passing it along.

At the end, share these appreciations and celebrate everyone in the group! You might even include this activity during a happy hour to truly celebrate one another!

Appreciations Exercise #team #appreciation #self esteem #remote-friendly 

When you hear about your strengths from others and acknowledge them to yourself, this builds your motivation and self-confidence.

If you do this at the end of a workshop, you go away feeling good about yourself and your colleagues too.

Cover Story

Bringing an activity that encourages creative thinking and imagination can be an effective method for getting team mates involved at your next corporate event. In this game, small groups create a magazine cover with your team on it and add headlines and taglines that show the best possible version of your team.

By defining the ideal future state for the organization your group can see what actions they might take today while also creating a fun and useful artefact for the team. Use as many sheets of paper as you need!

Cover Story #gamestorming #idea generation #organizational development #vision #strategy 

Cover Story is a game about pure imagination. The purpose is to think expansively around an ideal future state for the organization; it’s an exercise in visioning. The object of the game is to suspend all disbelief and envision a future state that is so stellar that it landed your organization on the cover of a well-known magazine

Coat of Arms

Even established teams have more to learn about one another. A corporate team building activity is a great time to encourage groups to go deeper and share who they are as a team.

In Coat of Arms, each team member begins by drawing a personal coat of arms and then sharing it with a partner. The partner interprets the coat of arms and then presents it to the rest of the group. This kind of getting to know you activity taps into group creativity and is a fun way of helping your team bond. 

Coat of Arms #teambuilding #opening #icebreaker #team #get-to-know #thiagi 

Coat of Arms exercise provides a way for participants to introduce themselves and their colleagues, particularly for groups who think they already know each other very well. Almost invariably participants discover something about their colleagues of which they previously had no idea. Occasionally this revelation has an immediate and direct application to another participant’s current project or challenge.Because this activity forces people to use drawings rather than words, it is particularly useful as a dual-purpose introductory exercise in training sessions that deal with such topics as innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.

My Favourite Manager

Leaders and managers can be a deciding factor in creating a great company culture and employee happiness. In this game, get started by bringing your team together to discuss their favourite and least favourite managers.

This corporate team building activity is great at creating a safe space to discuss management styles and create empathy between teams. You’ll often find team members can shift their perspective, learn something about how they relate to their leaders and have fun too!

My Favourite Manager #management #leadership #thiagi #teamwork #remote-friendly 

Participants work individually, assuming the roles of three different people and brainstorming their perceptions of three most favourite managers and three least favourite managers. Later, they work with a partner (and still later, in teams) to prepare a list of dos and don’t-s for improving employees’ perception of a manager’s style.

Who are you? The Pirate Ship exercise

Explore team roles and responsibilities in a lighthearted manner is a great way to spend time during an office event.

In this simple but powerful team building exercise, share the image of the crew of a pirate ship. Next, invite participants to reflect on who they most identify with on the ship. Who is the captain? Who is looking out for land or maintaining the deck? By reflecting together around a fun premise, you can encourage meaningful discussions with your grop.

Who are you? The pirate ship exercise (dinámica del barco pirata) #team alignment #team #remote-friendly #teamwork #warm up #icebreaker 

This an easy but powerful exercise to open a meeting or session and get participants to reflect on their attitudes or feelings about a topic, in the organization, team, or in the project.

History Map

Building effective teams is often a process of ideation, reflection and iteration over time. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much a team or organization has grown. With this corporate team building activity, invite your group to reflect and build on their collective experience with a memory wall that collects moments over a fixed period of time.

It’s a great way of reinforcing major takeaways, celebrating the highlights and creating a sense of closure and progress. By also encouraging the creation of a shared visual resource, History Map also enables creativity and a sense of fun that can provide the perfect end to a project or working session. 

History Map #hyperisland #team #review #remote-friendly 

The main purpose of this activity is to remind and reflect on what group members or participants have been through and to create a collective experience and shared story. Every individual will gain a shared idea of what the group has been through together. Use this exercise at the end of a project or program as a way to reinforce learnings, celebrate highlights and create closure.

Birds of a Feather

It’s not uncommon for teams to naturally form sub-groups with common characteristics. This exercise effectively shows how consciously creating more diverse groups can make teams more resilient and productive.

Get started by giving each team member an index card with a single letter on it. Then ask people to form a group of five people as quickly as possible without any further instructions. Next, ask the groups to form the longest word possible from their cards. It will quickly become apparent that the best way to win the game is with a team that has diverse cards.

This simple game is a great introduction to a wider conversation about diversity or inclusion. As always, debrief learnings and invite deeper conversation in the group to make this activity a success.

Birds of a Feather #teamwork #diversity #team #creativity #thiagi 

Participants naturally want to form groups with common characteristics. This exercise illustrates how diverse groups have access to more resources and provide a greater variety of solutions. Each person is given an index card with a letter on it, and then asked to form a group of five people. Participants assume that they should get into groups with others who have the same letter. However, when the facilitator asks them to form the longest word possible with the letter cards, they realize that it would have been more beneficial to have created a diverse group.

Human Knot

Corporate meetings can sometimes be heavy going, but they don’t need to be. In this fun teambuilding game, encourage your group to loosen up while working together to solve a puzzle that involves their bodies!

Start by getting your team members into groups of 7-12 people. Ask each group to stand in a circle, close their eyes and then link hands with two other people in the circle. Next, ask each group to work to untangle the human knot they have created without breaking the chain. This is a really fun game that requires clear communication, collaboration and a little flexibility too!

Human Knot 

A physical-participation disentanglement puzzle that helps a group learn how to work together (self-organize) and can be used to illustrate the difference between self-organization and command-control management or simply as a get-to-know-you icebreaker. Standing in a circle, group members reach across to connect hands with different people. The group then tries to unravel the “human knot” by unthreading their bodies without letting go of each other people’s hands.


As a management-awareness game to illustrate required change in behavior and leadership on a management level (e.g., illustrate the change from ‘task-oriented’ management towards ‘goal/value-oriented’ management).

Team building activities for small groups

Team work doesn’t always come naturally, and effective team collaboration needs attention, reflection and work in order to happen. It’s not enough to just assume your team members will be able to work together efficiently: all teams can benefit from a strategic and well-thought approach to how they communicate and collaborate.

Whether you’re having a team away day or using methods expressly designed to improve collaboration and communication in small groups, you’ll find inspiration in the activities here!

These team building games are helpful whether you’re trying to solve miscommunication or collaboration issues, or just want to strengthen your company culture or communication skills in small groups.

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Conflict Responses60 – 1202 – 40Medium
Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR)35 – 454 +Low
Myers-Briggs Team Reflection60 – 1202 – 40Medium
Strength Building Exercise15 +4 +Low
Strength Envelopes40 – 605 – 40Low
Team of Two20 +2 +Medium
What I Need From You (WINFY)55 – 7010 +Low

Conflict Responses

It’s important to remember that every team is made up of individuals and sometimes, conflicts or disagreements can arise. While its regular working practice to disagree, our responses to conflict and how we deal with them when they arise are in our control and can be improved.

In this exercise, reflect on previous conflicts as a team and collectively create a set of guidelines to use in the future. Resolving issues effectively is a massive part of team collaboration, and by including all team members in this process you can get more meaningful results too.

Conflict Responses #hyperisland #team #issue resolution 

A workshop for a team to reflect on past conflicts, and use them to generate guidelines for effective conflict handling. The workshop uses the Thomas-Killman model of conflict responses to frame a reflective discussion. Use it to open up a discussion around conflict with a team.

Heard, Seen, Respected

Team empathy is a vital ingredient of good team work though whatever the size of your organization, it can sometimes be difficult to walk in the shoes of others and see things from other perspectives.

Heard, Seen, Respected is a team building activity designed to help participants practice deeper empathy for colleagues and build the kinds of bonds and working practices that can improve team collaboration. By inviting participants to notice patterns in the stories shared and find common takeaways, it’s a great way to get everyone involved on the same page and improve communication skills too.

Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR) #issue analysis #empathy #communication #liberating structures #remote-friendly 

You can foster the empathetic capacity of participants to “walk in the shoes” of others. Many situations do not have immediate answers or clear resolutions. Recognizing these situations and responding with empathy can improve the “cultural climate” and build trust among group members. HSR helps individuals learn to respond in ways that do not overpromise or overcontrol. It helps members of a group notice unwanted patterns and work together on shifting to more productive interactions. Participants experience the practice of more compassion and the benefits it engenders.

Myers-Briggs Team Reflection

One potential obstacle to effective team collaboration is when members of the group don’t fully understand one another. Team building activities for work that encourage participants to not only try and understand their colleagues but themselves can be especially helpful when helping a team be more cohesive.

In this activity, invite your group to first take a version of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Start by asking each team member to reflect on their own personality type before then moving towards small group discussion. 

When using this activity, it’s important to correctly frame the usage of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) framework: This can be a useful framework to understand different communication preferences between people, but team members should not be labeled or put into boxes based on their self-reported preferences. 

Myers-Briggs Team Reflection #team #hyperisland 

A workshop to explore personal traits and interpersonal relations using the Myers-Briggs personalities model. Use this tool to go deeper with your team to understand more about yourselves and each other on personal and professional levels.

Strength Building exercise

Exercises for team building come in many varieties. In this activity, the emphasis is on the team championing one another and increasing confidence, self esteem and mutual trust.

Start by asking team members to share an event where they accomplished something that made them feel good about themselves. The rest of the team chimes in to suggest two to three strengths they must have exhibited in order to achieve the accomplishment. Team collaboration often means helping others on the team achieve their best, and this activity helps the group uplift one another meaningfully and effectively.

Strength Building exercise #team #appreciation #self esteem #remote-friendly 

People develop confidence and self esteem as they discover that their achievements and skills are valuable. This is an exercise for team building and for increasing self esteem and mutual trust.

Strength Envelopes

All members of a team have unique strengths, capabilities and working preferences. When working as a group, you can improve engagement and group workflow by having each participant utilize their strengths and do work that interests them the most.

With this team building activity, ask participants to write their name on an envelope and invite other members of their team to spend a few minutes writing down strength statements for that person. Place these in the envelope and pass them along so at the end of the session, each person has a set full of strengths they can use as the basis for reflection. 

Strength Envelopes #appreciation #self-awareness #feedback #team #thiagi #teambuilding #action 

This activity helps working teams to discover and share individual strengths and to increase their engagement by structuring their jobs around these strengths. Suitable for people who work together (for example, members of an intact work team) organized into playgroups of 5 to 9 members.

Team of Two

Whether you work in a small startup or a multinational organisation, the reality is that a large part of your working day will be spent working in pairs and interacting on a one-to-one basis. Whether in-person, over email or on video chat, finding ways to work together more effectively is vital for effective teams.

Try this team building exercise to help empower your groups toward more effective communication skills and have more meaningful interpersonal relationships at work. As a member of a remote team, I’ve found this method to be personally useful time and time again.

Team of Two #communication #active listening #issue analysis #conflict resolution #issue resolution #remote-friendly #team 

Much of the business of an organisation takes place between pairs of people. These interactions can be positive and developing or frustrating and destructive. You can improve them using simple methods, providing people are willing to listen to each other.

“Team of two” will work between secretaries and managers, managers and directors, consultants and clients or engineers working on a job together. It will even work between life partners.

What I Need From You (WINFY)

Some of the best team building activities focus on helping your group improve their teamwork skills and communicate and collaborate better as a team. A sometimes overlooked part of working as a team is clearly articulating what you need from other people and knowing how to ask for it.

What I Need From You is a team building method designed to help team members better articulate their core needs and be transparent with the group. This leads to a more cohesive team that works together with integrity and understanding.

What I Need From You (WINFY) #issue analysis #liberating structures #team #communication #remote-friendly 

People working in different functions and disciplines can quickly improve how they ask each other for what they need to be successful. You can mend misunderstandings or dissolve prejudices developed over time by demystifying what group members need in order to achieve common goals. Since participants articulate core needs to others and each person involved in the exchange is given the chance to respond, you boost clarity, integrity, and transparency while promoting cohesion and coordination across silos: you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again!

Team building games for problem solving

Teams often come together to solve collective problems as a group. Whether these are large projects or simply finding better ways to work together on a day-to-day basis, solving problems is something all teams should do – in or out of a conference room!

Improving problem solving skills with a game that asks for communication, collaboration and creative thinking is a wonderful way to bring everyone together. We love using these kinds of team building exercises to bring large groups together to solve a fun, simple problem.

By engaging team members in this way, they not only have fun, but they learn how to work together more effectively and reflect on how they can take that learning back to their day work.

In this section, we’ll look at team building exercises you can use to encourage creative thinking, build problem solving skills and teamwork in an experiential way!

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Blind Square – Rope Game40 – 454 – 20Low
Crocodile River60 – 12010 – 40Medium
Egg Drop10 – 205 +Low
Helium Stick5 +5 +Low
LEGO Challenge60 – 12010 – 40Medium
Marshmallow Challenge45 – 606 – 100Medium
Spider Web15 – 306 – 20Low
Stress Balls10 – 155 +Low
Scavenger hunt30 – 455 – 50Medium

Blind Square – Rope Game

Nothing energizes a team workshop like a seemingly simple problem that also gets everyone moving and engaged. In this team problem solving game, start by tying a length of rope into a circle and invite the participants to plan how to make the rope into a perfect square while blindfolded.

After planning time, team members is blindfolded and has ten minutes to form a perfect square. By debriefing afterwards, your group will find communication, planning and attention to detail are all important aspects of creative problem solving – all while having fun too!

Blind Square – Rope game #teamwork #communication #teambuilding #team #energiser #thiagi #outdoor 

This is an activity that I use in almost every teambuilding session I run–because it delivers results every time. I can take no credit for its invention since it has existed from long before my time, in various forms and with a variety of names (such as Blind Polygon). The activity can be frontloaded to focus on particular issues by changing a few parameters or altering the instructions.

Crocodile River

We love team building activities that challenge the group to work together in inventive ways and also help energize a workshop setting. Crocodile River is a team problem solving exercise that challenges team members to support one another physically as they look to move across a wide outdoor space and reach the finish line together.

By changing the setting and inviting problem solving and strategic thinking to solve a challenge, your group not only stretches their problem solving muscles but also works on team communication, leadership and cooperation. As with any more abstract team building game, be sure to debrief afterward for best results!

Crocodile River #hyperisland #team #outdoor 

A team-building activity in which a group is challenged to physically support one another in an endeavour to move from one end of a space to another. It requires working together creatively and strategically in order to solve a practical, physical problem. It tends to emphasize group communication, cooperation, leadership and membership, patience and problem-solving.

Egg Drop

Classic team building games like Egg Drop offer tried and tested ways to encourage teams to solve problems together while improving the way they communicate. This game often generates a bunch of laughter and creative thinking too – how can we save this poor egg!

In this team problem solving activity, invite small groups to build a freestanding structure that can support the dropping of an egg from seven feet. Include some caveats and challenges to make it more difficult and encourage an even greater degree of team collaboration. Just make sure you bring a mop for afterwards!

Egg drop #teampedia #collaboration #teamwork #icebreaker #team 

This fun activity could be used as an icebreaker for people who have just met but it can be framed as a method that shows and fosters team communication, collaboration and strategic thinking as well.

Helium Stick

Bringing team members together with problem solving activities that also encourages play can perform multiple functions. Not only do you encourage teamwork and the building of various team skills but you can have fun and promote laughter too.

Helium Stick is an example of a simple team building game that does double duty by encouraging fun, physical activity while introducing and exploring some core team building concepts. Ask the group to lower a long pole to the ground while keeping all of their fingers in contact with the pole at all times – more difficult than it first appears!

Helium Stick #teampedia #team #teamwork #icebreaker #energiser 

A great and simple activity for fostering teamwork and problem solving with no setup beforehand.

Lego Challenge

Creating something is often the purpose of bringing your team members together. Tap into the engaging process of co-creation and collaboration with this team building game using LEGO.

Building on the concept of LEGO Serious Play, this exercise is a great way of encouraging play, out-of-the-box thinking and creative approaches to existing problems. Additionally, each team member has a secret assignment which increases the challenge and encourages finding inventive ways to cooperate effectively and achieve both personal and team goals. 

LEGO Challenge #hyperisland #team 

A team-building activity in which groups must work together to build a structure out of LEGO, but each individual has a secret “assignment” which makes the collaborative process more challenging. It emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, conflict, cooperation, patience and problem solving strategy.

Marshmallow Challenge with Debriefing 

Real-life challenges are often time-sensitive and need to be considered thoughtfully and pragmatically. Team building activities for work are especially effective when they help create this same sense of urgency while encouraging team work.

In just eighteen minutes, groups must build the tallest free-standing structure out of materials including: spaghetti, tape, string, and one marshmallow, placing this last item on top. In this version of the team building game, there’s a debriefing section which encourages reflection on the roles of everyone in the team. 

Marshmallow challenge with debriefing #teamwork #team #leadership #collaboration 

In eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.

The Marshmallow Challenge was developed by Tom Wujec, who has done the activity with hundreds of groups around the world. Visit the Marshmallow Challenge website for more information. This version has an extra debriefing question added with sample questions focusing on roles within the team.

Spider Web

Getting outside and doing fun, physical activity can be a great way to bond teams and mix up a normal working routine. In this team problem solving game, participants are asked to work to make holes in a grid of string and rope that can safely and effectively accommodate everyone in the group getting through at once. Team members are not allowed to touch the string or rope and with diverse groups, the difficulty this presents makes for an interesting problem solving challenge for teams to solve. 

Spider web #team #teampedia #warm up #outdoor #physical 

This is an active team building game and requires participants to move about a lot and so can be also used as an energiser.

Stress Balls

At one point or another, most teams will be asked to perform effectively under pressure, whether that’s generated by internal or external stressors. By using team building games that help participants work together and communicate effectively even under difficult circumstances you can prepare your team members for almost anything!

Stress Balls is a fun game to help start exploring team resilience and problem solving under pressure, and it’s easy to run with large groups too! Start by simply passing a single ball around the room before adding more complex rules to help team members learn a valuable lesson about communication and teamwork!

Stress Balls #energiser #communication #teamwork #team #thiagi #action #icebreaker 

Understanding the importance of communication and teamwork is an important requirement for high performance teams of knowledge workers. This exercise is an effective energizer that requires communication and teamwork. Ask participants to form a circle and throw a ball around to simulate the movement of a message. Change different variables such as speed, quantity, and complexity to create a mess.

Scavenger Hunt

Activities that encourage groups to use teamwork and communication to achieve their goals are great ways to build team spirit. A classic scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to bring large groups together and have fun doing something a bit different!

Be sure to use office trivia, inside jokes or aspects of your company culture to inform this fun team building activity. You’ll find it much more effective if it’s tailored to your group. Bonus points if you can mix in activities that speak to the various departments or skillsets in the group during your scavenger hunt!

In the virtual-friendly version below, you’ll also find rules to help you run this activity with a remote team.

Virtual scavenger hunt #energiser #teambuilding #remote-friendly 

A fun team-building energiser that encourages groups to recreate the scavenger hunt experience in a fully remote environment! 

team-canvas-example
A team canvas workshop is a wonderful way to build bonds, set goals and create alignment in your team.

Team bonding activities

Mutual trust is a vital ingredient for any group of people working together, though it doesn’t always emerge organically. Taking the opportunity to build team bonds and create trust creates benefits for team connection, happiness and your company culture too!

While many of the fun team building activities above will bring your team together in some way, these methods are designed to expressly create better team bonds and build trust.

When working on improving team trust, we recommend being open about the goals of the exercise and encouraging the group to be honest. Being intentional during these activities can really help bring the group together!

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Trust Battery20 – 404+Low
Telling Our Stories60 – 1202 – 40Medium
Better Connections20 – 302 – 100Medium
Feedback: Current Strongest Impression60 – 1202 – 40High
Trust40+2 – 40High
Translated Rant10 – 304+Low

Trust Battery

Great teamwork isn’t just about bringing a group of people together into the same space. Without honesty, openness, and trust, your team can’t collaborate effectively and can lead to frustration or frazzled relationships.

Trust Battery is a team building activity designed to help all members of your group reflect on their trust levels and rebuild those batteries with lower levels. By encouraging all members of a team to meaningfully reflect, you can enable better team collaboration and help your team feel closer and more cohesive too.

Trust Battery #leadership #teamwork #team #remote-friendly 

This self-assessment activity allows you and your team members to reflect on the ‘trust battery’ they individually have towards each person on the team, and encourages focus on actions that can charge the depleted trust batteries.

Telling Our Stories

Everyone has a story to tell, though without a framework or guiding principles, surfacing those stories in a way that makes everyone feel safe and head can be tricky – especially for new teams. Team building activities that combine self reflection, sharing and structure are great for helping people to get to know each other deeply and build better bonds.

In Telling Our Stories, invite participants to reflect on childhood, young adulthood and today while answering questions on colored post-it notes. By sharing from the full gamut of our experiences, your team can get to know one another meaningfully and create trust too. 

Telling Our Stories #hyperisland #team #teambuilding 

To work effectively together team members need to build relations, show trust, and be open with each other. This method supports those things through a process of structured storytelling. Team members answer questions related to their childhood, young adulthood, and now; then weave them into a story to share with the rest of their team.

Better Connections

Great teamwork and collaboration is all about building stronger relationships and connections and this often means taking the time to see each other as more than just our job title. Once we get a fuller picture of who we are outside the office, everyone can feel more seen and understood. This is one of the cornerstones of team bonding and trust!

Encourage people who know each other the least to pair up and create space for meaningful reflection too – your team culture will thank you for it! It’s also a great way to improve communication skills and break down silos.

Better Connections #interpersonal relationships #teambuilding #team #connection #thiagi #get-to-know 

We build a stronger relationship with people when we see them as human beings with whom we share similarities in terms of family and life situations. It is very difficult to form strong relationships with people about whom we know very little.We feel more connected to “full” people. For example, take John, the accountant. If I think of John as an accountant, I might put him into a box of what I think I know about accountants. I might not feel connected to accountants and will treat him accordingly. But when I think of John as a keen mountain climber and outdoor adventurer with two children, one of whom is graduating from university next month, then John becomes human to me, and I can feel connected to him.

Feedback: Current Strongest Impression

Giving and receiving feedback is a great team building activity that sees benefits long after your session. When we find ways to be more open with one another and say what we really think, the results can be transformative for any group.

This activity is a great one to bring to any event where you want to improve team bonding, as it creates a safe and simple way to start practicing more honest feedback. The next time you think about how to improve the way your team works together, think about whether you have a good feedback culture. The trust that good, open feedback can create is a fundamental part of any high performing team!

Feedback: Current Strongest Impression #hyperisland #skills #feedback 

Regular, effective feedback is one of the most important ingredients in building constructive relationships and thriving teams. Openness creates trust and trust creates more openness. Feedback exercises aim to support groups to build trust and openness and for individuals to gain self-awareness and insight. Feedback exercises should always be conducted with thoughtfulness and high awareness of group dynamics. This is a good first feedback exercise. It supports individuals to try out giving and receiving a very basic form of feedback in a safe way.

Trust

When a team doesn’t trust one another, the atmosphere and culture of a team suffers. Creating space to align and create a shared understanding of what trust means to your team is a great way to build team bonds and improve the way you all work together.

Start this activity by bringing together a set of trust cards containing characteristics, behaviours, attitudes, habits, values, and beliefs associated with trust in the workplace. Next, ask participants to create their own trust cards and move towards creating three core trust cards for your team.

By co-creating the output together, this team building activity is great for ensuring buy-in and creating long-lasting trust.

Trust #thiagi #issue analysis #trust 

One of the most important concepts in the workplace is trust. It affects performance, informal and formal relations, atmosphere of the workplace etc. With this activitiy you cn discover what one thinks about trust.

Translated Rant

Team building workshops are a great place to give your team room to have fun, vent and be honest with one another. Creating space for honesty while also building communication skills is the goal of this fun team building activity!

Split your group into pairs and have one person rant about a pet peeve for 60 seconds. Next, have the other person translate this rant while focusing on what the person really cares about. This kind of deep listening activity is fundamental to creating team trust, and sharing some of our annoyances in the group is great for building bonds too!

Translated Rant #active listening #emotions #values #trust #conflict #introductions #opening #connection 

One person rants for 60 seconds. The second person translates their rant into what they care about and value.

Effective collaboration is a cornerstone of any high-performing team.

Team building exercises for purpose and alignment

Even the best teams can have differences of opinion and approach. While different viewpoints and perspectives are useful in many situations, it’s also vital that everyone is aligned on team purpose and vision.

Aligning on how the team will work together is an important part of helping the team be happy, productive and pulling in the same direction.

In this section, we’ll look at team work activities to help improve team alignment and get everyone working towards the same purpose. Let’s get started!

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Alignment & Autonomy60 – 1202 – 40High
Engineering Your Team OS60 – 1202 – 40Medium
Generative Relationships STAR20 – 255 +Medium
Team Canvas Session90 – 1502 – 8Medium
Team Self-Assessment60 – 1202 – 10Medium
Letter from the Future60 – 1206 – 30Low
Team Purpose & Culture60 – 2402 – 10Medium

Alignment & Autonomy

Activities that help improve each member of your team work more effectively and feel empowered to operate autonomously can be great for improving employee happiness and productivity. If we feel aligned on the core purpose and goals of our team while also being given the space to work in the way that is right for us, we can boost employee engagement and job satisfaction too! 

In Alignment & Autonomy, invite participants to reflect on times when they felt aligned and autonomous versus non-aligned and non-autonomous. By sharing, reflecting, and then ideating on solutions, your whole group can move forward together.

Alignment & Autonomy #team #team alignment #team effectiveness #hyperisland 

A workshop to support teams to reflect on and ultimately increase their alignment with purpose/goals and team member autonomy. Inspired by Peter Smith’s model of personal responsibility. Use this workshop to strengthen a culture of personal responsibility and build your team’s ability to adapt quickly and navigate change.

Engineering Your Team OS

When seeking to improve teamwork, it can be useful to think of your team as a system with complex, interlocking parts which may need a gradual refresh and redesign. This kind of abstraction can help prevent discussions from becoming too personal or difficult and ensure that your team alignment efforts are a success.

In this activity, your team designs an ideal working system by making aspirational statements and then methodically chooses a single statement to work towards ahead of the next meeting. By making positive changes incrementally, your team can achieve alignment and better working practices in a meaningful and sustainable manner. 

Engineering Your Team OS #team #hyperisland 

This is designed to work as a standalone workshop or as a companion to the Team Self-Assessment tool. Using reflections and insights on your working process, your team will ‘update’ its operating system by making deliberate choices about how to work together. The goal is gradual development, not a radical shift. You will design an ideal-state for your team and slowly work towards that.

Generative Relationships STAR

Better working relationships start with shared reflection and the discovery and discussion of existing working patterns. This team alignment activity invites participants to assess their team along four vertices: Separateness, Tuning, Action and Reason and jointly shape next steps and future actions.

By including the whole team in the alignment process from start to finish, you can get meaningful buy-in and see real results! We love using this on an online whiteboard too. It can be a great way to help remote workers consider their inter-personal relationships!

Generative Relationships STAR #team #liberating structures #teamwork 

You can help a group of people understand how they work together and identify changes that they can make to improve group performance. All members of the group diagnose current relationship patterns and decide how to follow up with action steps together, without intermediaries. The STAR compass tool helps group members understand what makes their relationships more or less generative. The compass used in the initial diagnosis can also be used later to evaluate progress in developing relationships that are more generative.

Team Canvas Session

Team alignment isn’t always straightforward. The more large, complex or multi-discipline your team is, the trickier it can be to help the group mesh and understand their roles and responsibilities to the team and each other.

In Team Canvas Session, you and your team create a shared visual resource for understanding and articulating your goals, values and roles of your team. It can be used for general alignment, for onboarding new team members and even for defining the structure and purpose of a brand new team – simply recreate or download the team canvas and get started today!

Team Canvas Session #team alignment #teamwork #conflict resolution #feedback #teambuilding #team #issue resolution #remote-friendly 

The Team Canvas is Business Model Canvas for teamwork. It is an effective technique to facilitate getting teams aligned about their goals, values and purposes, and help team members find their role on the team.

Team Self Assessment

All groups need to go through a period of reflection and self-assessment in order to grow. But without structure or a guiding framework, these discussions can become bogged down or unproductive. With this reflective team building activity, you can enable a thoughtful and thorough team self-assessment along six guiding dimensions.

Start with individual reflection before bringing everyone back together to debrief and see what you’re aligned on and what needs more work. By then narrowing these down to the most important elements, you can align and enable better co-working practices quickly and efficiently!

Team Self-Assessment #team #hyperisland #remote-friendly 

This is a structured process designed for teams to explore the way they work together. The tight structure supports team members to be open and honest in their assessment. After reflecting as individuals, the team builds a collective map which can serve as the basis for further discussions and actions. The assessment is based around 6 dimensions. Each one encouraging the team to reflect and analyse a different and crucial element of their behaviour.

Letter from the Future

Without a cohesive shared vision, teams can become unproductive or harbor frustration on team direction. By spending time with visioning activities, you can help everyone push in the same direction while still utilizing their unique talents.

In Letter from the Future, invite your team to imagine all the changes that might impact them in the next 5 years and write a letter back from that point. Ask your team to cover what’s been accomplished in those five years, and what kind of challenges and obstacles were overcome to make this happen. Remember to remind teams that good letters have a beginning, middle, and end and that they should read clearly – this will help during the sharing and debriefing section of this method!

Letter from the Future #strategy #vision #thiagi #team #teamwork 

Teams that fail to develop a shared vision of what they are all about and what they need to do suffer later on when team members start implementing the common mandate based on individual assumptions. To help teams get started on the right foot, here is a process for creating a shared vision.

Team Purpose & Culture

Defining your team’s purpose and culture is an integral part of team building. By clearly articulating why your team exists and how you will all work together to fulfill that purpose, you can align and bring focus to all the work you do. This team values and vision activity aims to create a shared visual resource that your team can refer to in the future.

It also uses wisdom from other successful organizations to help enable meaningful conversation and move from individual purpose statements to a single one for the whole team. If you’re looking for a complete process that can guide your team values and vision efforts, this method from Hyper Island is worth a try!

Team Purpose & Culture #team #hyperisland #culture #remote-friendly 

This is an essential process designed to help teams define their purpose (why they exist) and their culture (how they work together to achieve that purpose). Defining these two things will help any team to be more focused and aligned. With support of tangible examples from other companies, the team members work as individuals and a group to codify the way they work together. The goal is a visual manifestation of both the purpose and culture that can be put up in the team’s work space.

Checkout and recap activities for your team building workshop

The process of team building and enabling a group to work together more effectively can be involved and exhaustive.

As with any group process or workshop, taking the time to reflect, recap and check out can ensure the lasting impact of what was covered in the session.

You’ll often find that finding time to close team building activities creates space for further employee engagement and reflection. Getting team members involved in choosing the next activity or coming up with a theme for the next round of office trivia!

In this section, we’ll take a look at some great team building activities for closing a session and for recapping the main learning points. Let’s dive in!

Team building activityLength in minutesParticipantsDifficulty
Check-in / Check-out5 – 302 – 40Low
Bus Trip20 – 4510 – 30Low
One Breath Feedback5 – 152 – 20Low

Check-in / Check-out

Ensuring everyone in a group is present, focused and committed to the work of a session is a vital ingredient in making a team building session a success. With this workshop method from Hyper Island, you can not only start and end your session the right way, but you can help everyone in your group be seen, heard and understood by the rest of the team.

This is especially useful with a remote team, where ensuring clear connection between team members who don’t share a physical office is especially important.

This activity also helps encourage reflection and brings the workshop to an effective close – be sure to give it a try!

Check-in / Check-out #team #opening #closing #hyperisland #remote-friendly 

Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out emphasizes reflection and symbolic closure.

Bus Trip

The trip back from a team building event is a great place to share feedback and appreciate one another. Don’t have a bus? No worries! Create a few rows of chairs and simulate the experience for this reflective closing activity.

Once you’ve gotten the chairs of the bus set-up, ask participants to speak the person next to them and share: what they like about the other person, what they appreciate and what about the other person makes them happy. Speak for just 45 seconds each and then ask the group to switch seats.

Bus Trip #feedback #communication #appreciation #closing #thiagi #team 

This is one of my favourite feedback games. I use Bus Trip at the end of a training session or a meeting, and I use it all the time. The game creates a massive amount of energy with lots of smiles, laughs, and sometimes even a teardrop or two.

One Breath Feedback

In particularly large teams, it can be tempting to forgo the closing activity or individual feedback steps just because it will take so long and it can be hard to maintain energy and interest. One Breath Feedback solves this problem by giving each participant the space of a single breath to check out and reflect on the session. By ensuring that everyone has room to speak and be heard while also placing a time limit on the reflection, you can cap off a team building workshop effectively and intelligently.

One breath feedback #closing #feedback #action 

This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath … for most people that’s around 20 to 25 seconds … unless of course you’ve been a deep sea diver in which case you’ll be able to do it for longer.

Team building workshop templates

Building better teams often starts with designing an effective group process. Whether this takes the form of a workshop or meeting, you’ll want a balance of activities, ice breakers and reflective methods in order to help your group align and grow together.    

In this next section, we’ll take a look at some example processes with a complete workshop template you can use to get started. Let’s take a look.

Team development day for a new team

Helping new teams to bond and find a shared purpose and value system is often best achieved with a well designed group process. Try the team development day template when working with a brand new team or one which has seen large growth and is in need of development.

Here, you’ll find a complete one-day group process full of team building activities that can take a group from getting to know each other all the way through to defining their needs and making commitments. 

Emotional Culture Workshop

Good teams are empathetic and in touch with their emotions. Using the emotional culture deck, this workshop can be run in under 3 hours and helps your team define and improve working relationships and the emotional culture of your team.

Taking the time to articulate and define these items ensures that everyone in your group is seen, understood and valued, and that you have a shared language for moving forward.

Team Dynamics Workshop

Cohesive teams that work well together are those with an understanding about what makes a team and how it functions.

Support your team building activities with this half-day workshop template and guide your group through a process of understanding and building on the dynamics of working together. 

Team building sessions made easy

Designing an effective team building workshop means creating a balanced agenda of activities and group discussions while also keeping everything on time.

With SessionLab, you drag, drop and reorder blocks to build your agenda in minutes.

Your session timing adjusts automatically as you make changes and when you’re done, you can share a beautiful printout with your colleagues and participants.

Explore how teams use SessionLab to collaboratively design effective workshops and meetings or watch this five minute video to see the planner in action!

A workshop printout created in SessionLab, ready to share with participants and prepare them for an effective session.

Over to you

Enabling better teamwork and building stronger, more cohesive teams isn’t easy. Whether you’re running a team building day, team workshop, or simply adding some team building activities to your meetings, we hope that some of the methods above can help you and your group come together and do better work. 

Got a team workshop to plan? Check out our complete guide to workshop planning to make the process a breeze. Want to start creating your agenda quickly? Use a meeting or workshop template to save time designing or get inspiration.

Which of these team building activities is your favourite? Is there anything missing from the list above? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about how we can all improve our team building efforts.

2 Comments

  1. Hey there, Thank you so much for sharing this interesting stuff ! I will share these ideas with my HR Departments. And I am sure this blog will be very interesting for me. Keep posting your ideas!

    1. Gen rajesh Sahai September 10, 2021 as 12:04 pm

      All the training techniques have been well thought pit, planned and illustrated with tangible objectives which in itself is incredible to say the least. Have learnt so much which O shall incorporate and refine in my Workshops…Than you Team Session Lab

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Play Demo Video

Design your next workshop with SessionLab

Join the 150,000 facilitators using SessionLab

Sign up for free