Working as part of a team is an important and necessary part of life. It often becomes vital in class activities, sports and work. However, successful teamwork can often be difficult to achieve. If you happen to find yourself in the position of team or group leader among your peers, it may be useful to engage certain team building activities to encourage members to think cooperatively. These exercises can be fun -- they don't have to be chores. Working better together will mean that team members are communicating and socializing in a way that brings about progress, says management consultant and author of "The ePM Book" Simon Wallace.
All Tied Up
The aim of this activity is for team members to work together to complete a shared task. The group will stand in a circle and have their hands tied together. When everyone is all tied up together, they must attempt to complete an interesting and fun task as a group, such as wrap presents or make ice cream sundaes. You can make the task more challenging by timing the activity. When the task has been completed, it is helpful to have members express how difficult they found it to get the job done while being tied up and highlight what they did to make things work better.
In circle tag, one person in the group volunteers to be blindfolded. The other members hold hands and form a circle around this individual. The person in the middle should then try to tag or touch someone helping form the circle. Those forming the circle, in their part, must try to avoid being touched or letting go and thereby breaking the circle. The person in the middle can be given a time limit to tag someone before being replaced.
The Human Knot
The human knot activity helps members practice team building, communication and problem solving. It is best suited for groups having 10 to 12 people. Group members should be arranged in a circle, standing shoulder to shoulder. First, all members will put up their right hands and grab hold of the right hand of someone else across the circle. They will then do the same with their left hands, trying to hold onto someone different this time around. A check needs to be made to ensure that no one is holding onto the hand of the person next to him or her. Group members then need to try to untangle themselves without letting go of the others' hands. If the chain is broken, they must start all over again.
The Consensus Exercise
This exercise builds on teamwork, agreement and compromise. Group members should be divided into three or four teams, depending on the total number of people. Each team is asked to huddle and come up with a sound and accompanying action to perform for the other teams. Once each team has performed for the others at least twice, the goal is for all groups to do the same sound and action at the same time. The groups will get to re-huddle and, at the team leader's signal, will perform any of the noise/action combinations. This will continue until all groups are performing the same combination.
Latoya Newman is a novelist who wrote and published her first novel in 2012. She has a background in education, research and counseling. She taught at the elementary level for eight years, and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada.