‘There’s no I in team’

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‘There’s no I in team’ – but there sure are benefits for individuals. Check out the four biggest plusses of team building.

‘There’s no I in team’ goes the mantra – and it’s true, teams are all about collaboration, working together and the group rather than the individual. The ‘no I in team’ philosophy means that egos and personal agendas get left at the door, and everyone works towards a common goal. Working as a team is a skill – and team building activities help us develop, practice and nurture it.

But even though team building teaches us to work together, there are still benefits for each team member as an individual. Yes, of course the primary purpose of team building activities is to create groups of co-workers who gel well together and can complement each other’s’ skills and abilities (and whilst we’re talking team building, let’s not forget that a ‘team’ could

be any set of people who need to collaborate – a family, a musical group, a sports team). But team building activities also provide benefits for the individual members of that team. These are skills and strengths which they can carry forward, making their next team stronger, and their own lives (inside work and out) more enjoyable and fulfilling.

The benefits of team building for the individual have been studied in depth, including by Yale University in the US and The University of Warwick in the UK. At Tailored Team Building, we might not have the same academic research credentials, but what we do have is plenty of feedback from clients – and it all points in the same direction as the formal research. So, what are the main benefits to individuals of team building activities and learning to work well as part of a group?

Here’s our summary of the top four:

  1. Better problem-solving skills – most of us approach problems in a certain way, because of the way our brains are wired, or because ‘that’s the way I’ve always done it’. Seeing the way that other people tackle the same problem can be mind-blowing. We don’t know what we don’t know when it comes to problem solving, but seeing a new approach, firsthand, in a practical application, opens us up to the idea that there are other, maybe better ways to solve a tricky scenario. That’s a life skill that translates into time saved and stress levels lowered in just about every aspect of life.
  2. Open mind – many of us live in a bit of a bubble, surrounded by ‘people like us’. That can lead to a limited way of thinking and closing ourselves off to new ideas. Working with people from different backgrounds, with experiences outside of our own and with simply a different view on life does wonders for opening our minds. We learn to see things through others’ eyes, and to expose ourselves to a whole range of possibilities and opportunities that we may never before have considered.
  3. Learning about yourself – being around other people teaches us as much about ourselves as about them. It’s the same effect as learning about our home country by visiting other places and noticing the differences. You may only realise, for example, that you can stay calm under pressure when you see someone else struggling with the situation. Or see that you have great delegation skills when you see others trying to take on everything themselves. Self-knowledge is one of life’s greatest gifts, and we can develop it through team building.
  4. Being happier – team building fosters stronger working relationships, communication, and camaraderie. Burnout is a big issue in today’s workplaces, with research showing that 67% of employees feel burned out sometimes, very often or always. The same research also shows that being in a positive work environment has a highly beneficial effect on our emotional well-being. When we feel part of a team that respects, hears and values us, we are 80% more likely to feel emotionally strong. And who doesn’t want to feel happy?

Companies and organisations benefit greatly from team building activities – they get greater employee engagement, productivity and alignment. But teams are made up of individuals, and those individuals can also gain massively from the activities that help to foster teamwork. So, whilst there is ‘No I in Team’, and teamwork is about group dynamics, don’t forget that by running team building activities, you’re also giving a fantastic boost – in skills, attitude and emotional well-being – to your individual employees. And they’ll thank you for that!