The Answer to Your Team
Event Woes

Mary Bleech headshot

Mary Bleech

October 20 2022
Picture this: Your team has been feeling more stress than usual at your job with piles of work, unmotivated team members, and a sense of underappreciation. You could cut the tension with a knife, and yet you’re currently in an escape room with your team wondering how unraveling clues to find the key to a door will help realizing this isn’t going to solve any of their problems – and it’s clear no one’s even having fun. Sound like an ideal Friday afternoon? Not to us either.

Sure, the intent is good: collaboration, problem solving, and time management all come into play in scenarios like these – and who doesn’t want those strengths embodied in a team?  But, when the activity at hand doesn’t encompass the collective interests of the group, the activity becomes a waste of time and money and probably only furthers the team’s feelings of isolation.
Turns out this is a common challenge for many leaders. In corporate surveys, participants commonly express that they don’t feel their company really has any idea what would be meaningful to them and their teams. You had no idea your team would rather be at a hockey game and have dinner at a nice plant-based restaurant, so instead you planned an escape room before dinner at a BBQ joint. How were you supposed to know half your team is vegan?! With all of these factors at play – what’s the key to creating events that actually produce a fun team experience?

You don’t have to wait for issues to arise to create team bonding opportunities – and you shouldn’t! Helping your team connect initially through discovered interests and shared values can support your workplace culture tremendously.

Group of happy people
Person holding coffee
ChattyKathi can do the work for you here – ChattyKathi collects team profiles that detect common likes and desires among the group, and then recommends in-person or virtual events that help your team explore these interests while learning more about one another. You’ll never have to guess whether or not your team wants to hit up a concert or take a private cooking class again – now you know they all love pop music and you’ve already got someone booking tickets to the Harry Styles concert next month.

The last thing you want is for team tension to impact an event – it can be an awkward experience if no one’s talking as the chef at the Hibachi restaurant tries to get everyone to join in on the fun. That’s where your leadership comes in. One-on-ones with team members can help them feel heard and appreciated. But as a leader, you shouldn’t wait until these issues arise to start communicating well to meet your team’s needs.

According to an article from Harvard Business Review, the starting point to effective collaboration is the strive of individual team members. To be an effective leader, help each team member understand their role and their goals. Once these parameters are established and you can help them work towards those goals in a way that motivates them personally, it allows much more room for facilitating team events that truly focus on leaning into common joys and strengthening bonds for the betterment of your team and your company.

Often times, team events don’t properly take into account what your team actually wants – and needs. Is your project turning into pure chaos? Does the client keep changing needs and asks? When you’re constantly pivoting, maybe your team doesn’t want a night out – maybe they want to be gifted with individual passes to the spa. Before planning your next team building event, understand what issues might be arising for your team. To do this, you must understand your employees’ perspectives. Take time to learn their motivations and any current frustrations, noting suggestions of how they might overcome those frustrations.

Person meditating

Once you understand the primary tensions on your team, construct an activity that will help resolve it – or at least not exacerbate it. Is the team feeling isolated and alone in their remote space workspace? Maybe it’s time for a virtual murder mystery party to help them get more comfortable with each other. Ensure that you’re not just experiencing these activities passively, and speak clearly about your intentions for the event. Providing your team with information about why you think the event will be helpful – as well as how it points to the overall goals of your work culture – allows them an opportunity to feel a sense of acknowledgement and support. Every leader’s dream!

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