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Antonio Tooley

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Five great activities to build trust and boost team performance


When the employees in a certain company join forces and work towards a single goal, they complete the tasks more successfully and build the company’s morale. That’s why teamwork is so important for every single business. Positive team spirit is impossible without empathy – the ability to relate to other people’s experiences, thoughts and emotions.    

It’s not easy to build trust between the employees in your company. Each of them is an individual with strong personal characteristics that aren’t always harmonious with the environment. However, there are certain activities that can help team members function perfectly with each other.                                  

Activities for boosting team performance

You need to constantly implement new techniques to boost performance and elevate the levels of empathy between your employees. These are some activities that work well:

Sherpa walk

This activity is suitable for teams of 8-15 members. It’s effective because it helps everyone gain more trust in the team. Sherpa walk also promotes empathy and helps people develop intuitive communication skills. 

For this activity, you’ll need blindfolds and about 60 minutes of your time. 

  • Prepare a course. You can have your route between chairs and tables, put some obstacles on the floor and on the waist level, so that participants have to step over certain objects or crawl under them.
  • Separate two members of the group and tell them to follow you. Take them to the course and give them 2 minutes to inspect it and remember the route. 
  • When you bring the two leaders back, give them 10 minutes to develop a communication system they will use with their teams, they aren't allowed to talk, but they can make any other sounds. 
  • Tell everyone, but the team leaders put the blindfolds on. The team leaders have to guide their teams through the course using the communication systems they developed. Team members mustn't touch anything throughout the course - if they do, start over again.  

Spider's web

This team building game lasts around 40 minutes and is suitable for 6-15 participants. Its purpose is to inspire the members to work together, surpass their differences and commit to a common goal. You need scissors, Duct tape, and one large ball of string. 

  • Choose a location with two fixed objects, such as trees or metal poles. 
  • Tie and weave the string between the chosen items to form a web with holes. Some of the holes should be easily accessible, but you should also create some challenging holes.
  • All team members start at one side of the web and use the holes to get to the other side. 
  • When a person passes through a hole without touching it, their team scores a point. 
  • Close the hole when someone scores a point through it. Use the Duct tape for this purpose. 
  • If everyone scores a point, reopen the holes and allow the team members to use them again. 
  • If someone touches the string, they should return to the starting point, and the score will be deleted to zero. Open all holes for new scoring. 

This activity is great because every individual is responsible for the success of the team, and the entire team cares about each member’s results. 

Helium stick

This activity is great for teams of 8-12 people. It takes about 25-30 minutes. You need a 10 ft stick – a light, long and thin rod that you can find in a DIY centre. The purpose of the helium stick activity is to encourage the team members to work together and establish effective communication for the sake of achieving a goal. 

  • Line up two rows of people, facing each other. Ask them to hold their arms out, pointing with the index fingers. 
  • Place the Helium Stick on their index fingers. Everyone’s fingers must have contact with the rod at all times. The rod must rest on top of their index fingers throughout the activity. 

The goal is to bring the stick down, but it defies the principles of gravity and it appears to be floating. This behavior will confuse the participants, and it will probably cause laughing.  

Trust fall

You need a larger group of at least 11 people for this game. It can last for 15-20 minutes if you want each individual to try the fall. The name of the activity explains its purpose: building trust within the team. 

The trust fall activity requires a raised platform, which is lower than six feet. 

  • One person stands on the raised platform with his arms crossed over the chest. He grips the shoulders with the opposite hands. 
  • At least 10 individuals stand on level ground. Arrange the group in two lines, facing each other. They extend the forearms while keeping the palms facing up.  
  • The faller turns his back on the spotters and falls into their arms. He needs to trust the group and allow the force of fall to make the catching more difficult. 

This is how NOT to do the trust fall

Balloon challenge

The purpose of this game is enhancing the effectiveness of communication within the team. You need four teams of about six members. Get 10 balloons for each team (40 in total), in four colours (one colour per team). You also need four blindfolds. The activity can last for 30 minutes. 

  • Mix all balloons in the centre area.
  • Place each team on one side of a square around the centre.
  • One member of each team should tie a blindfold and get into the centre
  • The team instructs the blindfolded member to collect a balloon of the right colour. He chooses one balloon and returns to his line. 
  • Then, another team member ties the blindfold and the procedure is repeated.
  • When someone picks a balloon of the wrong colour, it should be taken back. 
  • The first team that manages to retrieve all balloons of their colour wins. 

Make a fun day at the office; you won’t regret organising these activities as your team will become more united and supportive!   

Antonio is a hopeless optimist who enjoys basking in the world's brightest colors. He loves biking to distant places and occasionally he gets lost. When not doing that he's blogging and teaching ESL. He will be happy to meet you on Facebook and Twitter.

One Response

  1. The purpose of the Helium
    The purpose of the Helium Stick exercise is in how to overcome the anti-gravity effect. This should be the team leader’s role to use communication and encouragement to get the team lowering together. A time limit is good for inter-team competitiveness

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Antonio Tooley

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