Some people are simply naturally better team players than others, but even for those people, it can be difficult to connect with and work well with brand new people straight away. Whether you are adding a few new people to an already existing team, or putting a brand new team together who have never worked together before, you can expect the dynamics to change and people may need to get to know each other a little better before they can work together at maximum effectiveness.
Thankfully, as a team leader or manager, there are several things you can do to help teams connect. Here are some ideas:
Listening to music is something that most people can share with one another, even if people have different musical tastes. Even if somebody doesn’t share your exact taste in music, you can both appreciate what each other likes, and sharing musical preferences with one another can make it easier to connect with each other and forge a friendship. Encouraging teams to play music while they work can be a very simple step that helps everybody to feel more comfortable around one another and invoke some interesting conversations. Spooncast is a great option; they focus on audio streaming and have plenty of music and more to listen to.
2. Encourage Conversation.
Instead of getting everybody to work straight away, encourage your team to connect by having conversations about one another. This could be made easier in the form of a group exercise, for example, where you ask each team member to introduce the person next to them, which forces them to have a conversation and ask questions about the person to the side of them and vice versa. Having some kind of script to work with at the beginning can make it easier for those shyer team members who might struggle to initiate a conversation.
3. Team Building Games.
Rather than having everybody start working straight away, team building games can be an ideal way to break the ice and help everybody get to know each other and connect in a more meaningful way before they start working on the tasks at hand. There are several great ideas that you might want to consider for team building games, from the simple board or card games in the office for everybody to play, or arranging a day out to take part in fun team building activities like an obstacle course.
4. Staff Nights Out.
Getting everybody together to do something fun without having working on their mind at the time is a good way to help a new team connect. And, staff night out is a great way to do this. Whether it’s some quick after-work drinks at the local bar or pub or a meal together at a nice new restaurant in town, putting your team in a social setting rather than the professional setting can make it easier for everybody to relax and get to know one another.
A little bit of friendly competition between team members can go a long way when it comes to encouraging everybody to connect with one another and build stronger relationships. There are plenty of ideas that you might want to use for competitions in the workplace; such as offering small prizes to the person who can get the most tasks completed in the day, or prizes for the person with the best numbers in a sales team. You could also introduce competitions between different teams in your workplace.
New teams don’t always start connecting and working well with each other straight away, but there’s plenty that you can do to help them break the ice and get to know each other.