Team building activities can be a great way for your office wallflower to blossom.
Every office has at least one: the soft-spoken, worker who toils away in a corner cubicle with his head down, and his mouth shut.
His mind may be full of ideas, but he may only share them in an email. An asset and an anchor in an otherwise chaotic environment, this steadfast, conscientious worker may be easy to ignore, but as far as the company’s bottom line is concerned, he’s impossible to live without.
Workplace diversity is not just about ethnic or cultural differences. We all have personalities, character traits, and experiences that make each of us unique. You’re not just a manager, you’re an orchestra conductor of sorts. Creating harmony within your staff requires a level of understanding and acceptance of each person’s idiosyncrasies.
Of all the personality types on your staff the wallflower can be the most challenging one to learn because he’s so easy to miss. Out of sight, out of mind. Well planned team building activities can make it easier for you to understand this employee’s temperament. They may also obviate strategies you can implement to help develop his strengths, shore up his weaknesses, and make him feel more like a part of the team.
Invariably, there are social barriers between less assertive workers and the more ambitious ones. Team building activities can help break the ice between these polar opposites [pun intended]. Simple meet-and-greet luncheons can introduce staffers who share adjoining cubicles, but have never really shared any intel about their lives.
More dynamic and structured activities such as charity workshops are excellent opportunities to get employees outside of the office, and into an environment where they can showcase strengths not otherwise evidenced at work. For example, in a charitable team building workshop, you and your team might assemble school supplies for needy children.
Your wallflower-in-residence may rise to the occasion and help identify the most valuable items to be donated or share a heartfelt story about indigent members of your community that your colleagues need to hear to humanize a problem about which they’d had little concern.
Or in a competitive activity a seemingly passive staffer may rise to the challenge and demonstrate leadership abilities and competitive strategies no one imagined he had.
The best team building activities provide a platform on which each member of the team gets to display talents heretofore unseen at work. They help to develop interpersonal and communications skills, and build relationships–professional and personal.
This is especially important for the quieter, less assertive members of your staff.