Five Trust Exercises for New Managers
A positive rapport among employees is an important part of any successful company; coworkers who like each other work harder for one another. Of course, the most critical part of this dynamic is trust, and we’re not referring to the type of trust that causes you to leave your Facebook page open with the status – any status – ready to be written. This is something way deeper than that.
For new managers, team trust building exercises are an excellent technique for strengthening the bond between themselves and the team. They promote a positive team morale by giving employees the chance to have fun together, and they’re an ideal way for coworkers to see you as less of a boss and more as a person.
Some of the trust building activities worth exploring with your team include:
A throwback to the sleepovers of childhood, the trust fall exercise involves one person allowing themselves to fall into their coworkers’ waiting arms. Some variations involve standing on the ground, while others involve falling from an elevated surface (such as a table). Either way, the person falling must trust the group to catch them, and the group must rise to the challenge. Otherwise, the trust fall exercise becomes less of a team building activity and more of an exercise in concussion management.
In the tag team game, coworkers are divided into groups of four to eight people and asked to share their individual strengths. Each team is then given a large piece of paper and instructed to make their version of the “ultimate team member.” To do this, they must combine each coworker’s positive attributes. This ultimate hypothetical person is named, drawn, and given a storyline. At the end of the exercise, each group shares their person with the other staff members. The point of the activity is to help employees see the benefits of working as a unit: one person’s strength can compensate for another’s weakness.
The eye contact exercise is extraordinarily simple. It only requires an even number of participants (and eyes). Because making eye contact with someone conveys trust and respect, it’s not easy for everyone to do. This exercise helps coworkers grow more comfortable and trusting by maintaining eye contact for a set period of time. Ideally, each pair will stare into each other’s eyes for at least sixty seconds, and, no, wearing sunglasses or ski goggles isn’t allowed.
For this act, coworkers are paired off, and one person is blindfolded. Holding hands, the other coworker guides their blindfolded peer on a series of walks where the pace gradually increases. Eventually, the walk becomes a run. The partners then switch roles. This exercise literally teaches employees how to find comfort in blindly trusting one another.
This exercise is only suited for large groups and involves coworkers forming two lines and facing one another to create a corridor. Each person puts their arms out straight in front; the arms of the coworkers should intersect and overlap. One person walks down the corridor while their coworkers raise and lower their arms to allow him or her to pass. The person then joins at the end of the line while someone else goes (and so forth). At first, people walk slowly, but as the exercise continues, the speed increases and the coworkers grow more confident in their ability to move their arms in time for the walker to get through.
There are many ways to foster trust among your employees, but most importantly, let your staff laugh and learn together. The activities we’ve listed for you here should maintain certain objectives in order to be effective, so make sure they’re positive, inclusive, competitive, and purposeful.
Remember that when your employees are personally invested in the goals of the team, they are less likely to blow off shifts without finding adequate coverage, even in the best weather conditions.
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