Team Building Toolkit-25 Tips!

Success is NOT achieved alone. If your team is not effective, your results will be poor.    

What team building activities have worked the best for YOUR team?  What is the greatest team building challenge you face? Sharing 25 team building tips for your toolkit!



1. Have a clear mission. Start with the common anchor, the objectives and values you share.  Internalize them, mention them, and ignite them because they are the fuel for your greatest individual and collective potential.

2. Make sure that roles, responsibilities and accountability are clearly defined.  If you are working with an agile team/project team where roles change, this in itself is a new type of role that must be explained.  Clarity is king and buy in from members is queen.

3. Develop a team charter.  Team members need a strong sense of belonging to the group that will build trust and commitment. This sense of commitment is reinforced when the team spends the time to develop team norms or relationship guidelines together.

4. Lead, don’t micro-manage.
Make sure that all team members feel that they are a critical part of the team’s success. Make sure roles, responsibilities and accountability are clear, but do not micro manage. If process helps execution, use it.  Process used as a substitute for poor leadership, lack of trust will ultimately impede or undermine that potential of the team. Get the right people on your team, empower them, engage them; help them with their professional/personal development and hold them accountable.

Align & Motivate Empathize
Delegate & Monitor Plan & Control

5. Develop your ability to use care-frontation. Don’t shove problems or conflicts under the rug where they can fester, brew and explode in overt or covert ways.  Conflict is a healthy sign.  Use it to build connection.  Remember conflict that his not expressed, festers, brews and ultimately destroys everything in its path. Use shared values and objectives to break down barriers and to also help team members build strong intrinsic motivation so that they focus forward when times are tough.

6. Ready to react? Stuck in stasis?  Worried about driving in reverse?  Ready to go into fight or flight?  Try my R-E-A-C-H™ coaching method for better and faster results!  Go ahead change a default pattern of thinking, communicating or doing that is no longer working for you. Yes, brain science confirms that our brains are neuro-plastic (we can rewrite default patterns)


Redirect focus Don’t let your amygdala hijack you!  Pause.  Depersonalize and refocus on your primary objective.
Empower confidence Develop personal rituals that help you get empowered when times are tough.  Find ways to empower the confidence of team members because YOU cannot light a fire (yours or theirs) with wet wood. If you believe you can do it, you are arming yourself with an almost unstoppable weapon.
Actualize potential Put your best effort forward and execute.  Enable your best self and best work.
Communicate effectively Learn how to understand communication styles of others and how others perceive you so that you can speak/write in a way that opens their ears and send them a message that drives reach, resonance and results.
Harvest results Celebrate all wins, big and small and make sure to recognize the people who helped to make the win a reality.  Success is a group activity.  Build your team and they will reach back and help YOU grow.


7. Give your team a safe place to share their thoughts by developing team rituals that further transparent communication. 
Ask the right questions because developing your ability to not only ask the right questions, but ask them in a way that engages/empowers while also holding them accountable is critical.

8. Organize the team for excellent communication and execution by creating team rituals, regular meetings (face-face or virtually), team-building sessions as well as informal meetings that provide engagement, fuel focus and enthusiasm (lunch and learns, regular launches, social gatherings-fun time).  Never punish or castigate a team member for having a different opinion.  Open the door to different opinions they are the lifeblood of innovation and success.  If team membership changes during the project, or there are other important changes to deal with plan a short team building meeting to review forming and norming stages again (and/or to get the new team member up to speed).

9. Model failing forward.  Learn from successes and failures. Be honest with your team.  Do not try to buffer them from critical/difficult decisions.  Show them how to deal with challenges and turn them around. Show team members how to move from conflict to connection.

12. Championing learning, training and mentoring.  Help team members develop skills that help them improve interpersonal relationships, communication with all stakeholders (internal/external), presentation skills, career related skills AND skills that speak to their own personal development.

13. Hold pre-meetings (face to face or virtual review of meeting agenda so that you know if there are any questions or issues).  Pre-meetings are necessary ingredients of successful project meetings. Prime team members for a positive meeting.  Set the stage for fruitful results with a pre-meeting

14. Hang out with your team and also make sure there is fun time. Show them you are smart with heart. Sit with them and talk about their life/ambitions. Make sure that you humanize your relationship because you cannot lead heads without touching hearts. Let them know that you not only value their work and efforts, but enjoy them as people.

15. Model appreciation for efforts put forward and recognition for individual and collective achievements. One of the number one complaints of over 70% of USA employees is that they are not appreciated or recognized for their work.  Disengagement and presenteeism are rampant.  Nip them in the bud.

16. Be thoughtfully decisive. Take a stand that reflects 1.  Values   2.  Objectives   3.  The best course of action. “A leader always explains or fixes”. Explain your decisions to your team or go fix them.

17. Champion diversity.  Diversity of gender, race, skills and background makes a team stronger. Make sure to view each member as a unique and special component of the team with experiences, points of view, knowledge and experience to contribute.

18. Model leadership by creating an environment where team members are comfortable taking risks, communicating, advocating positions and taking action.  Do not punish, castigate or scoff at someone for disagreeing.

19. Model active listening.  Be a great listener and help team members improve their listening skills.  The most important part of communication is listening without judgment, without trying to guess what the other party is really trying to say or formulating your response while they are talking.

20. Expect and encourage creativity, innovation, and different viewpoints need to be expected and encouraged. Comments such as, “we already tried that and it didn’t work” and “what a dumb idea” should not be allowed or supported.

21.  Champion reflection and continuous improvement.  The team should regularly examine itself to improve processes, practices and interpersonal communication and interactions as well as an open discussion of team norms/practices that have become counter-productive in a changing environment. 

22. Work on team procedures for identifying, analyzing and resolving team problems and conflicts.  Again, use challenges as a positive lever to build better processes, communication and solutions. When you are having team building challenges focus on interpersonal relationships first!

                Interpersonal Relationships

23.  Remember that trust is the glue that holds a great team together.  Shared values, objectives, honest communication, accountability and collaboration built trust and make it stick.  Frequent meetings, team rituals, social meetings (with and/or without family) community volunteer opportunities are all great ways to bond and share, wins and challenges are all opportunities to build trust.

24.  Identify toxic team members and get them off the team.  Make sure that you are not removing team members who have great potential and need coaching, training, mentoring but rather members who are NOT a fit for the team and who will not benefit from personal development initiatives.

25. Teach your team members to take breaks every 90 minutes for blank time in order to recharge.  Even the tightest schedule can grow to fit in 5 minutes of blank time every 90 minutes.  Stress is one of the most critical threats we face from an individual, business and organizational perspective.  Help yourself and your team members find ways to recharge. Explore and select personal rituals you can do in a couple of minutes a day that help you recharge, refocus and repower!

What team building activities have worked the best for YOUR team?  What is the greatest team building challenge you face?  We’d love to hear from you!

Irene Becker, Just Coach It for Breakthrough Results in Turbulent Times
Discover executive coaching, career coaching & personal coaching with a 3Q Edge
Email:  (416-671-4726)  Skype: beckerirene
Irene’s assistant, Drew Jones, (416-737-5075)