Connect Through Team Activities

Volunteers at Soup Kitchen

#54 Take Time for Team Activities

Consider activities that you can do together as a team. Pixar Animation has Pixar University to help create connection among employees.  Each employee has the option to attend up to four hours of classes each week. The university offers more than 90 classes from filmmaking to drawing. The motto on Pixar University’s crest is a Latin phrase meaning “alone no longer.”

Zappos gives its managers a budget for team-building activities. Team activities done away from work help people to truly focus on one another rather than be distracted by being in the workplace. Doing something fun together helps people to like one another and leads to more cooperation.

Another option is to serve together. One of the most powerful and least appreciated ways to connect a team is to have them select a non-profit organization in their community and spend a day working together on a service project to serve the community organization.  Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Goodwill and homeless shelters always have needs that your team can help fill. You may help by doing clean up work, painting, preparing and serving meals, and/or interacting with the people the organizations serve.

The reason serving together is so powerful is that participants experience what psychologists call the “helpers high,” a positive emotion that makes people feel good and facilitates connection. To maximize your time serving, prep your team to “connect then serve.” In other words, first take the time to connect with the people you are serving by introducing yourself, asking their first name, memorizing it, using their first name when you interact with them, and asking questions about their lives outside of work. After you connect, then you can go about the task of serving.

This is the fifty-fourth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights language, attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others. Although the language, attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.

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