Qualities of Exceptional Team Members (and Activities to Foster them)
Clear and Effective Communicator
The ability to express one's ideas and concerns candidly and effectively is the hallmark of an exceptional team member. A team that communicates effectively is like a well-oiled machine, moving seamlessly towards its objectives.
Activity: "Picture Pieces Game"
Objective: Enhance clear and effective communication, active listening, and collaboration.
Materials Needed: A large, intricate image or picture, scissors, envelopes.
Choose a large, complex picture or image. You can opt for a detailed illustration, a page from a children's book, or a complex geometric design.
Cut up the image into as many equal rectangles or squares as there are participants.
Place each piece in an envelope and distribute one to each team member.
The goal of the game is for the team to reproduce the original image within a set time limit. The challenge is that members cannot look at each other's pictures – they must describe them verbally.
Participants should take turns describing their piece of the image while the others listen attentively and ask clarifying questions.
After the round of descriptions, the team starts assembling the picture based on their understanding of each piece's description.
Once the picture has been assembled, reveal the original image and discuss how close the team came to reproducing it.
Open the floor for discussion. Ask questions like, "What was most challenging about this activity?", "How did communication impact the result?", "What would you do differently next time?"
This team-building activity encourages clear and effective communication, as the success of the task relies on each member's ability to describe their image piece accurately and their capacity to listen and understand their teammates' descriptions. It's an enjoyable and engaging way to highlight the importance of clear communication in achieving common goals.
When we speak of reliability in a team setting, it's about members delivering on their promises consistently. This trait builds an atmosphere of trust and confidence among the team.
Activity: "Trust Fall Relay"
Objective: Enhance trust, reliability, and teamwork.
Materials Needed: None
Divide the team into smaller groups, ideally with 4-5 participants each. In every group, assign roles: one 'faller' and the rest 'catchers'.
The 'faller' stands on an elevated spot (like a small stool) with their back towards the 'catchers'. They are supposed to fall straight backward, trusting that the 'catchers' will reliably catch them and prevent them from hitting the ground.
Once the 'faller' is caught, the catchers gently lower them to the ground. Then, roles are rotated within the group so that everyone gets a turn to be the 'faller' and the 'catcher'.
The team that successfully completes the relay without any member hitting the ground wins the game.
Debrief at the end of the activity. Discuss questions like, "How did you feel when you were the 'faller'?", "Did the reliability of your team members impact your level of trust?", "How does this activity translate to our work environment?"
The "Trust Fall Relay" is a classic team-building activity that tests and builds the team's reliability in a tangible, visceral way. It makes the abstract concept of 'being reliable' very real and immediate. By physically relying on their teammates to catch them, participants experience the importance of being reliable and trusting others in a profound and memorable way.
Active listening is about fully focusing, understanding, responding, and then remembering what is being said. It is a stepping stone to effective communication, fostering empathy and understanding within the team.
Activity: "Paraphrase Passport"
Objective: Improve active listening skills.
Materials Needed: None
Split the team into pairs.
One person in the pair, the 'Speaker', will share an experience or story for 2-3 minutes. It can be anything from their last vacation to a challenging project they tackled at work.
The other person, the 'Listener', must listen carefully. Their task is to paraphrase and repeat the story as accurately as they can. They should focus on capturing not just the details but also the emotions and underlying themes in the story.
After the 'Listener' has recounted the story, the 'Speaker' provides feedback. They can correct any inaccuracies, highlight missing details, and share how well they felt the 'Listener' captured their story's essence.
Roles are then swapped, and the process is repeated.
At the end of the activity, the group comes together to discuss their experiences. This is a good time to share insights about the importance of active listening and how it fosters effective communication.
The "Paraphrase Passport" activity enhances active listening skills. It encourages team members to really pay attention to what their colleagues are saying, understand it, remember it, and then communicate it back accurately. This practice not only reinforces good listening but also builds empathy and mutual understanding among team members.
Active participation signifies a member's enthusiasm and commitment to the project. It leads to a sense of ownership and motivation to see the project succeed.
Activity: "Idea Relay Race"
Objective: Enhance active participation in team settings.
Materials Needed: A list of topics or problems relevant to the team's work, a whiteboard or flipchart, markers.
Divide your team into small groups, each group will have their own whiteboard or flipchart.
Choose a topic or problem from the list that requires creative ideas or solutions. Each group will work on the same topic/problem.
The first member of each group will start by writing an idea or solution related to the topic/problem on the board. They then pass the marker to the next member in their group.
The next team member then builds upon the first idea or provides a new one, again writing it on the board. This continues until all members of the group have participated.
Once all teams have completed the relay, each group presents their ideas to the others, explaining how they developed each one and their thought process.
The team can then discuss all the ideas presented, giving everyone a chance to contribute to the final decision or solution.
The "Idea Relay Race" fosters active participation among team members by giving them each a turn to contribute. It promotes creativity, collaboration, and ensures that everyone has a voice in the discussion. The nature of the relay also introduces a fun, competitive element that can motivate team members to engage actively.
In today's dynamic work environment, flexibility is a highly valued quality. It's the ability to adapt to changes and be open to handling various roles and responsibilities.
Activity: "Role Swap Carousel"
Objective: Enhance flexibility and understanding of various roles within the team.
Materials Needed: None.
Divide your team into pairs. If there's an odd number, one group can have three members.
In each pair, members will switch roles for a predetermined period of time (a day, half a day, or a couple of hours, depending on what's feasible).
During this time, each person must perform the tasks and responsibilities of their partner's role to the best of their ability.
After the role swap, have a team meeting where everyone shares their experiences. Each team member should discuss what they learned, the challenges they faced, and any new respect or understanding they gained about their partner's role.
Rotate the pairs and repeat the activity periodically to give everyone a chance to experience different roles within the team.
The "Role Swap Carousel" activity not only promotes flexibility but also encourages empathy and understanding among team members. It allows everyone to appreciate the challenges and responsibilities of their colleagues, fostering a more harmonious and cooperative team environment.
But that’s not all! Discover 5 more team building activities in Part 2 of this article.
How Insightful Fosters Better Team Members
Virtual teams have become a mainstay for many businesses. Yet, the challenge to foster and develop effective, engaged, and committed team members remains. This is where Insightful’s robust tools for virtual teams come into play.
Insightful’s remote employee monitoring tools are specifically designed to drive team performance and productivity. It enables managers to monitor computer activity, ensuring that employees stay focused on their tasks during work hours.
Insightful's employee tracker provides a comprehensive view of an employee's workday. By documenting and analyzing various aspects like login/logout times, active/idle times, and application and website usage, it offers insights into employee behavior and productivity patterns. Managers can use this information to identify areas of improvement and implement strategies that enhance performance.
To sum it up, Insightful not only serves as an effective remote employee tracking tool but also empowers businesses to foster better, more productive, and engaged virtual team members.