img_3267Team building may encompass many different activities, but all have the goal of enhancing relationships between team members, and helping define roles within teams. Specific team building activities, like hiking up a mountain as a team or engaging in a group problem-solving activity are designed to help teammates align around their common goals as well as build strong working relationships. As teams become more cohesive and roles become better defined, finding solutions to team problems becomes less daunting.

Team building exercises are not just “feel good” exercises. Studies have found that team development can have a strong positive effect on organizational performance and financial benchmarks. Following are five team building quotes and advice on how to put them to work in taking your team to a higher level of performance.

1. “Leadership is not just what happens when you’re there, it’s what happens when you’re not.” – Ken Blanchard

A team that fails to function when its leader isn’t around is not really a team. Likewise, the strong leader understands that what goes on in his or her presence and absence depends largely upon team cohesiveness and feelings of control of the team’s destiny by the team members themselves. The very best leaders may sometimes seem indispensable, but in fact they’re the ones who have taught their team well and helped everyone on the team believe in themselves.

2. “An ounce of action can crush a ton of fear.” – Tim Fargo

At some point, it’s time to choose a course of action and move forward, despite fears. In fact, taking that first step can go a long way toward dispelling fears. Some people feel waves of apprehension before doing something out of the ordinary, like giving a speech. Yet once they take that first “ounce” of action by stepping onto the stage and beginning to speak, many of those fears evaporate. There’s really no situation in which we can’t wonder, “What if?” But we can’t let that paralyze us into inaction. Strong teams know when and how to move forward in the face of fear.

3. “Actions are remembered long after words are forgotten.” – Lolly Daskal

When someone remembers you as a person who interacted with them with kindness, compassion, and respect, it colors their entire relationship with you. This is not to say that words aren’t important, because they are. But how you say things and whether or not you keep your word makes a tremendous difference in your relationships with people. Teams in particular must be able to operate on a basis of trust that people will say what they mean in a professional and respectful manner, and that they will do what they say they will do.

4. “There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.” – Tom Peters

Getting back lost integrity is difficult, whether it’s over something as small as “borrowing” money from the coffee fund or as big as falsifying test results. This is not to say that consequences are always equally severe. But when someone witnesses you in a small act that lacks integrity, it colors how they perceive you. Suddenly you’re someone who pads travel expenses, so what else might you be capable of? Integrity is about both the big things and the little things, because whatever its scale, lapses in integrity make a statement about you.

5. “Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers

Sometimes it’s hard to get every team member to listen. It can also be difficult to get every team member to talk. One thing that can happen is that a more garrulous team member begins to feel that part of his or her “role” is to leap in to fill silences or gaps in the conversation. Silence isn’t always a vacuum that has to be filled. And when all team members know how to listen and make it a regular practice to do so, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and mistakes all become rarer.

I want to personally invite you to get my book, Adventure in Everything: How the Five Elements of Adventure Create a Life of Authenticity, Purpose, and Inspiration and begin living a life that will not only make you a valued team member, but also an individual of integrity and strong character.

Team building