Is It Really A Teambuilding Event?

teambuildingYour manager tells you that you need to hold a team building event to encourage staff to work together and support the common goals of your unit.  You can see the merits in getting everyone to join that kind of thinking.  You know it will make your job as the manager easier if everyone is on the same page.  But, you don’t know what kind of event to conduct.

Your manager suggests an after work event for dinner and drinks.  You blink in response.  Your manager tells you not to worry, that you can expense everything.  You blink again.  It wasn’t the cost that caused you to blink, it was the event.  Eating and Drinking will build a teamwork mentality?

For many managers, a social event is thought to be a way to train teamwork.  It is not!  It doesn’t do much other than to create a social environment among co-workers to let down their in habitations, create friendships, and open up conversations that may not be totally appropriate among this group.  It doesn’t forge any kind of support system that will build a team.

Now what do you do if you are the manager that understands that social events are not the same as team building events?  What do you do if you also don’t want to socialize with your team outside of work?  Are you being forced to make your co-workers and staff your friends?

My suggestion would be to first recognize that your manager is not aware of what a team building event is, and that they are working off their own experiences.  Be gentle, but inform them of other options.  If you have a training functions, call them in to run a teamwork exercise with you and your staff.  Or go buy a book on team building and learn an alternative approach.

Bottom line, if you want to socialize with fellow employees, save it for birthdays, promotions and retirements.  And when you run a team building event, make it about team building!


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