Quality team building activities should be anchored in the basic principles of experiential learning, and thus transcend simplistic leisure based approaches.
Many things are called 'team building' these days in terms of off-site or retreat activity content, but the ones that add lasting value are more accurately termed 'experiential learning' constructs.
Experiential learning, often referred to as learning by doing, has proven to be a highly effective approach for building and developing teams. This hands-on method provides team members with opportunities to actively engage in activities, problem-solving, and collaboration, leading to enhanced team dynamics and overall performance.
There are several observable reasons why experiential learning works well in the team building and team development space:
1. Active participation:
Experiential learning encourages team members to actively participate in team activities and challenges. By engaging in hands-on situations and tasks, individuals are more likely to retain and apply the knowledge gained. This active involvement fosters a sense of ownership and accountability within the team, leading to a deeper understanding of their behavioural team roles and responsibilities.
2. Collaboration and communication:
Experiential learning necessitates collaboration and effective communication among team members. As they work together to overcome obstacles and achieve common goals, individuals learn to listen, share ideas, and coordinate their efforts. This promotes at sub-conscious and conscious levels the development of trust, empathy, and mutual respect, essential elements for building strong team relationships.
3. Problem-solving and critical thinking:
Experiential learning activities often present teams with complex challenges that require problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Team members are encouraged to analyse situations, evaluate options, and make decisions collectively. This process not only strengthens their individual problem-solving abilities but also cultivates a team culture that values innovation, adaptability, and creative thinking at a collective level.
4. Reflection and feedback:
Experiential learning emphasizes reflection and feedback as integral components of the learning process. Team members are encouraged to reflect on their experiences, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and provide constructive feedback to one another. This reflective practice enables teams to continuously learn and grow, adjusting their strategies and approaches based on past experiences.
5. Emotional intelligence and empathy:
Experiential learning activities often evoke emotional responses and require individuals to empathize with others. By engaging in such experiences, team members develop emotional intelligence, becoming more aware of their own emotions and those of their teammates. This heightened emotional intelligence enhances their ability to navigate conflicts, understand different perspectives, and build stronger relationships within the team. Good experiential team building tasks can aid in the growth of psychological safety.
6. Real-world application:
Experiential learning provides a bridge between theory and practice. It allows teams to apply the knowledge and skills gained in a real-world context, making the learning more relevant and meaningful. This practical application not only reinforces learning but also builds confidence and competence within the team.
Quality team building that is anchored in experiential learning serves as a powerful tool for team development by promoting active participation, collaboration, problem-solving, reflection, emotional intelligence, and real-world application.
By engaging in hands-on experiences and learning from their own actions, team members develop a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, improve their communication and interpersonal skills, and foster a stronger sense of cohesion and unity.
Through experiential learning, teams can unlock their full potential and achieve higher levels of performance.
To find out more about how Sabre can tailor quality team building and experiential learning to suit your teams contact us:
T – 1300 731 381 E – Admin@SabreHQ.com