Team-building and navigating workplace dynamics

Many jobs require teamwork between multiple people. Getting along and collaborating with others is essential in many academic and professional environments. It ensures that everyone can contribute and work together on collaborative tasks.

However, it is also essential to know how to deal with difficult co-workers and manage uncomfortable dynamics.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of team-building exercises, how to implement activities, and how to deal with difficult co-workers. 

What are team-building exercises?

Team-building exercises are, in a nutshell, any activity that is not directly related to a workplace’s goals but is helpful in strengthening the connection between coworkers. Often, the activities resemble things people would do with friends or family.

Some examples include playing cooperative games together or even spending some time getting to know each other better.

Why are team-building exercises important?

According to Indeed, team-building exercises can enhance employee satisfaction and productivity, resulting in companies making 21 per cent more profit. This is because it can increase positive workplace attributes, such as trust and reliability, active listening, problem-solving, conflict management, and communication.

There are different signs a workplace might need or benefit from team-building exercises. These signs include employees needing clarification about their jobs, struggling to get along and communicate with each other, or seeming like they do not care about their work.

Team-building is a win/win for both employers and employees since the employees get a more enjoyable and understanding work environment. At the same time, the organization as a whole notices greater productivity.

How to implement team-building activities

There are a variety of team-building activities people can participate in both in and out of the workplace. Some can be quick and easy games, like having a group count to 20 but restarting every time two people talk over each other. Or playing something classic like charades. Some other activities coworkers can engage in together outside of the office include taking a cooking class, trying out escape rooms, volunteering, or joining an intramural league in sports.

Essentially, anything can be a team-building activity as long as it is fun, inclusive, and encourages multiple people to improve how they communicate and work with one another.

Getting along with difficult coworkers

Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that not everyone can get along, even if they work in the same place. Sometimes, employees’ personalities clash, or a dispute happens.

It is believed that there are five basic types of coworker relationships based on a scale of animosity to friendliness. These relationships are defined by their status, including conflict, competition, neutral, cooperative, or collaborative.

These statuses can influence people’s behaviours and actions towards one another in the workplace. They also illuminate how well they will collaborate on tasks and whether there will be disputes or not.

For competitive dynamics, it is best to be ambitious toward one’s goals but be courteous and respectful to others who share the same objectives. When challenging moments arise during collaborative projects, it is best to highlight that everyone ultimately has the same goal: to perform well on this task.

Relationships with conflict are usually the most difficult to navigate. When dealing with a challenging or problematic co-worker, it is important to not stoop to their level.

Stooping to their level and reciprocating toxic behaviours will create more of an uncomfortable divide in the workplace, which is unfair to other co-workers.

On the other hand, ignoring the issue is not the best approach either. Everyone deserves respect, and no one should get away with harassing or bullying someone.

If two conflicting co-workers cannot reach a resolution, it is best to reach out to a manager or the company’s human resources department for further assistance. Human resources can help employees work through their conflicts and facilitate team-building exercises that allow staff members to build connections. Building strong, healthy workplace relationships is an ongoing journey, but it is worthwhile to create a work environment that is productive and positive for everyone.

About the author

Callum Denault is a fourth year student of journalism at Toronto MU, and a disability self-advocate. In his free time Callum enjoys practicing martial arts including Jiu-Jitsu, playing basketball, and keeping up on the latest science news.

Callum Denault

Callum Denault is a fourth year student of journalism at Toronto MU, and a disability self-advocate. In his free time Callum enjoys practicing martial arts including Jiu-Jitsu, playing basketball, and keeping up on the latest science news.

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