Creating a friendly office environment is one of the most challenging tasks a manager faces in their early stages of developing a successful team. Any office can be civil but it takes time and effort for a group of individuals to function together as a team and achieve results.
In the words of Henry Ford “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
So how can a manager help his or her team connect with one another? Building trust between members is critical to building a team so we’ve put together five of the best ice-breakers for the start of team meetings that will take your team from a small-talk office to a “going out together after work” office in no time.
There’s always an element of mystery about new colleagues; what are their hobbies? Do they have a family? What music do they like? Most people feel uncomfortable asking these questions but you can hide all curiosity behind Guess Who where colleagues will share personal information they’re comfortable with. The idea of this game is to give team members slips of paper and ask them to write two things about themselves that no one at work will know about. Collect them all then shuffle. Give each colleague a slip of paper and let them read and guess the owner of these two facts. Most colleagues will elaborate on the two facts without prompting but if not, as the manager, ask some leading questions to encourage them to explain a bit more. You’ll find common interests, shocking facts and there are bound to be some fun facts that get the team laughing.
Fear in a hat
Fear in a hat is a great team building exercise to build unity and group cohesion. Each person writes a personal fear anonymously on slips of paper which are collected in a hat and read aloud. Each person tries to describe his or her understanding of the person’s fear. This game will lead to good discussions about those fears.
In this particular game, each colleague writes their name vertically on a sheet of paper and then list one word horizontally that starts with each letter of their name and that has to describe something about them. Some colleagues may feel embarrassed to describe themselves in a positive way so as manager set the pace by writing your name first and being as dramatic and fun as possible, it will get the team comfortable enough to be as honest and positive about themselves too. This is a great personal and team building exercise.
The imaginary line
This game will divide your office in a good way. Create an imaginary line along your office with one side being “for” and one side being “against”, anything in between will indicate “indifferent” or “unsure”. For this game you will ask colleagues to choose between two things, it could be coffee or tea, white chocolate or milk chocolate, Hawaii or New York. This is a great way for colleagues to see who has a similar preference to them. Be careful not to choose anything too controversial such as religious or political preferences, stick with light-hearted and fun.
My story is our story
Story-time is not just for children! This is an alternative yet fun way to get the office giggles. Gathered in a circle, each colleague will vocally share a funny incident that happened in their life in one sentence, the next colleague will carry the story on by adding something funny has happened in their life. The idea is to go around the circle two or three times. This is a great way for colleagues to feel connected, having created one hilarious story from their own personal tales.
These games will enable team members to show their vulnerability and help you build a cohesive and trusting team.
These are our five top ice breakers, which will you be trying for your team? Comment below or tweet us @F2LAW.