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7 Unique Team Building Ideas

7 Unique Team Building Ideas

Whether you’ve got a HR budget itching to be spent, or a modest team in need of a midwinter boost, there are many marvellous methods to support effective team building. Simple innovations can make a big difference, whilst grand gestures can make for a memorable and motivating adventure.

Take a look at our top 7 tried-and-tested solutions to support a happy and healthy work environment.

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Small ideas for big impact

1. Disco afternoon

Build a Spotify playlist over the week, sourcing everyone’s music taste into an eclectic reflection of your office culture. Then, when Friday afternoon arrives and the weekend rolls into view, a thoroughly unique (yet work-appropriate) disco can see your team through to 5pm. Music can be a borderless space – you’ll be surprised how quickly people can bond over something as simple as a favourite song or band.

2. Start a book group

Unite like-minded people with this super simple but remarkably effective way of building a community conversation.

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Select fortnightly themes, bring food and enjoy the chat – it’s the perfect Friday afternoon primer for the weekend ahead, and ideal for encouraging better communication across teams. But if reading isn’t your team’s thing, try knitting, board games or fantasy football – you’re sure to find something that your team have in common.

3. Make a difference

Community volunteering can bring your business into the heart of its community, building local relationships that can be of mutual benefit far into the future. Wherever you’re based, there are youth and community schemes that are in real need of support from corporate partners, through the volunteering of time and practical help – a worthwhile and bonding task for team members to undertake together.

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Getting out and about

4. Try a new sport together

You take on big challenges together every week, so why not try something totally new as a team? Quidditch started out on the college campuses of America, but is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as a fast-paced and tactical sport with a healthy dose of wit and magic on top. For something a little more traditionally ‘cool’, head for an indoor skatepark or trampoline centre to catch some air in a number of thrilling ways. For newbies or experts, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy a bit of competition and comedy.

5. Create a mystery

Murder mystery parties have long been a popular staple of dinner parties – so why not broaden the scope and enjoy a murder mystery day in the office? This is your chance to construct a hilarious mystery, packed with workplace in-jokes and costumed cameos from senior staff. Split your team into detective duos and challenge them to find the clues and crack the case – it’s great for collaboration, a change of pace and a guaranteed giggle.

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6. Jailbreak!

48 hours to get as far away from the office as possible – without spending a single penny! Fundraising for charity is a great way to bring teams together, and a Jailbreak weekend unites team members in a truly unique hitchhiking adventure. Encourage teams to raise sponsorship money for every mile they get away from the office – maybe even offer a prize to the team who makes it the furthest!

7. Plan your Summer Summit

Whatever your budget, find a getaway suitable for your team at the apex of the year. Mix creative, energetic discussion and team building sessions with relaxing social activity. It’s all about breaking up the 9 to 5 and giving the team a chance to connect and collaborate in a new environment, free of the usual patterns and constraints. Whether it’s just a weekend away, or longer, let your team enjoy the sunshine and build those all-important bridges for long-term success.

Featured photo credit: ‘Team Building and Leadership Favorites 2012’ by Michael Cardus via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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