Team Building Activities That Build Respect

Team building is crucial in business and in sports.

Whether in the workplace or on the sports field, it is crucial that teams of any sort have a general collegial air about them. In order for this to happen, team members must respect one another without question. As soon as one team member questions another or disrespects another, the success of the team is in danger. The following team-building activities strive to ensure that respect is given by everyone, and that all team members trust each other and feel confident of their place within the team.

1 Proximity and Eye Contact

Have team members learn about the importance of being comfortable around one another and using eye contact with each other through this simple activity, which requires no props and minimal time. Team members should divide into pairs and then stand a good distance from each other (perhaps start at 10 feet). At that distance, each team member should ask his partner for help while looking her in the eye. The pairs should then walk a bit closer to each other, ask for help again and continue to look one another in the eye. This process should continue until the team members are close. The pairs should then start to gradually move away from each other once more. This illustrates the importance of addressing someone with the respect it takes to approach them at a comfortable, conversational distance and look them directly in the eye.

2 Leading the Blindfolded

In many regards, respecting another person has much to do with trusting that person. In order to build both trust and respect, break the team into pairs once again. The activity coordinator will scatter objects throughout a space or room that will serves as "mines," turning the space into a "minefield." Each person will take turns being blindfolded, while her partner leads her safely through the minefield with verbal direction (the non-blindfolded partner cannot touch or physically guide the blindfolded partner at any point).

3 Creative Juices

Respecting someone else means listening to her ideas with an open mind, even if her ideas differ drastically from yours. In order to build up the strength of a team, have team members engage in something creative, where everyone must contribute ideas and the group must come to a consensus before a decision can be made. For a sports team, the activity coordinator could break the team into groups of three or four and assign each group with the task of designing and creating a team banner. For a business group, the project could be to design a mural to decorate the office entryway or lobby. By hearing out the creative ideas of other people, team members can discover newfound respect for the inventiveness and contributions that each member brings to the team.

Alissa Kinney is a full-time professional in the communications field, with an AB from Brown University and an MA in Writing & Publishing from Emerson College. She has years of experience as an editor and writer, and has been published in The Blue Doors, Our Town Brookline, Art New England and Body + Soul.