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Turn Your Work Team Into a Close-Knit Family

Publication: The Globe and Mail
Date: Friday, March 19, 2004

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if people could work together without any of the office politics, inflated egos, back-stabbing, and mistrust? What would it be like instead to walk into work each day looking forward to seeing the people you work with and genuinely liking them?

Building a strong, efficient team requires constant energy and effort. It is anything but static. The myth that a single team-building session will create harmony and dissolve underlying conflict between team members is a big fallacy. The purpose of formal team-building sessions has much less to do with the actual content and structure. Its true fundamental purpose - and it needs to be seen as such - is to provide your employees with an opportunity to learn and understand each other better.

This 'gels' the team members, building trust and rapport. And it ultimately creates a more positive and open place for acceptance and mutual respect.

As you get to know others in your team, you learn about their likes, dislikes, beliefs, opinions -- even their culture and religious backgrounds. You will almost always discover differences in your thinking and perspective.

Yet the funny thing about human beings is that we intrinsically look for common denominators. We look for congruence and common ground in order to formulate bonds and develop closeness.

In the midst of all of our differences, we invariably look for ways in which we are alike -- even if it is limited to our favorite hockey team, or type of food we most enjoy. Ultimately, if we are going to be working together, we want to establish a connection. Team building sessions and off-site retreats allow an opportunity for employees to bond with each other. This cannot help but strengthen our working relationships.

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