Updated: October 09, 2022

Team Building Methods: Ultimate Guide

You found our guide to team building methods.

Team building methods are ways to form and manage groups of workers. For example, hiring, coaching, and gamification. The purpose of these methods is to provide managers with proven models and guidelines to build better teams.

These methods are similar to team building process, team building techniques, team building elements and team building best practices.

This article covers:

  • What are team building methods?
  • Team building methods vs team building techniques
  • What are creative team building methods?
  • What are some examples of team building methods?
  • What are some team building methods that impress executives?
  • What team building methods do you use for remote teams?
  • What are team building methods to avoid conflict in the workplace?
  • What team building methods would you suggest I try with my team?

Let’s dive in.

What are team building methods?

Team building methods are procedures for assembling cohesive and cooperative teams that work well together. Here are a few basic methods of team building.

1. Hiring or assigning members

Though often overlooked, the selection process is one of the most crucial steps in the team building process. Leaders can save or make extra work for themselves through the choice of team members. When a leader selects the right group members, teamwork will be naturally stronger and team building activities will be more successful. The right teammates compliment each other. Teams should share a culture and possess some overlapping viewpoints so that decision-making is somewhat smooth, but teammates should also differ enough in skill and perspective that discussions are thoughtful and address valid concerns. Diversity is important within teams for inspiring creativity, encouraging critical thinking, and stimulating growth.

2. Clarifying group roles

To collaborate effectively, every group member must have clear roles and responsibilities. Leaders should assign positions and delegate tasks amongst teammates. These roles can shift and change over time, but each team member should understand the duties and functions at any particular moment. To assign roles, leaders should inventory group members’ skills, experience, knowledge, and workload, assess the components of the project, and match elements accordingly. By setting basic expectations, leaders allow teams to function smoothly and depend on each other.

3. Strengthening team bonds

In terms of teamwork, interpersonal relationships are just as important as responsibilities. Social ties motivate folks to put forth maximum effort; nobody wants to let down the team. Plus, trust is a huge component of effective teamwork. To strengthen bonds, leaders can plan team building activities such as team dinners, game nights, or volunteer projects. Leaders can also serve as an ideal model of teamwork by allowing all teammates the chance to contribute to the discussion, offering assistance, and treating every member with respect.

Here is a list of ideas for team bonding.

4. Providing relevant feedback

Experts call the practice “team building,” not “team built,” because forming a team is an ongoing process of growth. Teams can only improve when teammates realize what approaches work well and which behaviors need tweaking. To shape a team, a leader must relay performance notes. You can observe your team’s processes and poll the crew for extra insight, then schedule one on one evaluations with teammates or send guiding messages. Providing comments on submitted work, whether regularly or as part of an audit, also helps the execution of tasks.

Here is a guide to providing effective feedback.

Team building methods often correspond to the five team building stages which are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. As a group progresses through the development process, there are different actions that are appropriate for the current circumstances.

Team building methods vs team building techniques

Team building methods are similar to team building techniques, but there is a subtle difference between the two concepts. Put simply, methods are what you do, while techniques are how you do it. In other words, team building methods are the actions a leader takes to build a strong team, while team building techniques are the style of those actions.

What are the best team building methods?

Effective methods for team building are simple and easy to follow but achieve stellar results and noticeable return on investment. The best team building methods are providing helpful feedback, encouraging socialization, and planning interesting and stimulating team building activities.

What are creative team building methods?

You can devise innovative methods to build your team’s skills and deepen group bonds. Here are a few suggestions:

Team takeovers: To give every group member a chance to develop leadership skills, you can host team takeovers. Each team member gets a turn to lead a project or activity, calling all shots by delegating, instructing, and coaching effectively. This exercise can strengthen the relationship between managers and reports, as team members will gain a better understanding of the leader’s position and responsibilities.

Adventuring: Risk-taking and innovation are important parts of teamwork. Team members need to feel safe enough within the group to break from routines and try out new approaches or propose novel ideas. You can speed up the trust-building process and hike your teammates’ confidence by incorporating adventuring into your team building. Activities like zip lining, rock climbing, or kayaking can boost your team’s daring and form great memories. Not every adventure needs to be athletic though. Any activity that pushes teammates out of comfort zones is beneficial. An adventure might come in the form of trying an exotic cuisine, attending an avant-garde performance, or connecting with strangers.

Free ranging: Instead of dictating all of the factors of your team’s team building experience, you can give your team members freedom to design their own programs. We recommend that you give teams certain guidelines– for instance, that coworkers take part in at least one team building activity per quarter– but allow teammates to decide what the nature of the experience. One distinct advantage of this approach is that every employee feels empowered and autonomous. Of course, you should supervise, guide, and support your team through the process, since your role as a leader is to shape the team. This method merely puts you in the background, instead of you blazing the trail. Think of yourself as a parent in the backseat of the old family Suburu during a driving lesson; the driver picks the route, and you’re just there to avoid a crash.

There are other outside-the-box methods you can employ to enliven your team’s routine, including choosing unusual activities that surprise and delight your crew. For instance, tiny campfire gathers remote teammates around laptops to roast marshmallows over tea lights and share ghost stories from afar.

What are some examples of team building methods?

At TeamBuilding we use a Slack channel called #random as a virtual water cooler. Employees can post musings, memes, personal or professional victories, or any other topic that might constitute breakroom chit chat in a more traditional office setting. This exercise is one example of a virtual team building method for establishing connection and increasing camaraderie in a remote office environment. Casual conversations are a powerful tool for boosting camaraderie and one method of forming trusting teams.

Gamifying teamwork is another approach that encourages collaboration. Turning group activities into fun and friendly competitions gives teams a shared goal and instantly forges a collective identity. Team Building offers a Virtual Team Trivia eventa that pits coworkers in an epic battle of knowledge, for instance. Though only one team wins the title of champion each session, all colleagues win the prize of quality together time and more dynamic relationships.

What are some team building methods that impress executives?

Any team building method that improves your team’s productivity and solidarity is sure to catch the big bosses’ attention. Executives care about return on investment, so if the performance boosts increase the bottom line, higher management will consider the costs as money well spent and will continue to fund team experiences.

One of the most important methods you can use to please the higher powers is to hire and assemble competent and complimentary teams. If you select crews that mesh and bring a variety of skills to the table, then your teams will excel and higher management will notice.

What team building methods do you use for remote teams?

All the basic team building methods, such as hiring cultural fits and designating clear roles apply to remote teams, but virtual leaders need to work more consciously to create a sense of community in online offices. Home offices ring of solitude, save the occasional interruption from pets or children, and remote workers often report feeling lonely or disconnected from the rest of the company. Virtual leaders should carve out spaces for casual conversations and natural bonding by designating online breakrooms, and should strive to connect remote colleagues through online social functions like digital coffee break chats or virtual team building events. Providing feedback and affirmation is also crucial in virtual offices, since limited online interactions can sow doubts about performance and esteem.

Here is a list of remote team building activities and one with online games for team building.

What are team building methods to avoid conflict in the workplace?

Communication is one of the key factors in avoiding and navigating workplace conflict. Many disagreements stem from a lack of information, a missed update, a simple misunderstanding, or a misinterpreted statement. To prevent conflict, you can teach your teams effective communication strategies such as active listening, refraining from interrupting, negotiating and persuading tactics, providing regular updates, and responding within a certain time frame.

Fostering connections within your team is likely to decrease conflict, too. Teammates who possess strong bonds will avoid unnecessary disagreements for fear of harming the relationship. Socializing will encourage empathy among group members, as teammates will come to appreciate the multi-faceted human beings behind departmental titles. You can facilitate relationships among teammates by planning social events like team dinners and happy hours and by embracing casual conversations during work hours.

Lastly, you can channel any existing tension or rivalry into team building games and contests. Friendly competitions give employees an outlet to blow off steam and practice to resolve conflict in a low-stakes environment.

Here is a guide to workplace competitions and one with conflict resolution activities for teams.

What team building methods would you suggest I try with my team?

Every team is unique. Groups have different characteristics and needs, meaning that approaches are not one-size-fits-all. You may have to experiment and try various tactics to determine which steps you should take with your team. You could also ask an expert by enlisting the help of a team building consultant. These professionals can assess your team and propose a plan of action to form a more productive and close-knit crew.

Final thoughts

There are many team building methods you can use to improve your team’s performance and increase cohesion and collaboration. Methods may vary based on your team’s personalities, duties, and environments. In the end, all methods boil down to choosing the right people and nurturing skills and relationships.

Next, check out this list of books on coaching, this guide to team building stages, and this collection of conflict resolution activities.

We also have a list of team building program examples and a list of the best team building tools.

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Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

LinkedIn Angela Robinson