The success of most organisations depends on effective teams working together. From personal experience, I know running to be one of the best team building activities there is. In this article, we’ll explore 4 amazing team building benefits of running. Hopefully you and your team will be convinced to sign up for a race to develop a strong, well-oiled and effective team dynamic.
What exactly is ‘team building’?
Team building is actions or processes done deliberately with an aim of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a unit.
Team building often refers to activities or events which increase motivation, harmony, cooperation and strengthen relationships.
Any company worth their salt will have at least a day or two a year for team building activities. Exactly what that team building activity is depends on the company or individual responsible for organising the team building event.
Team building can be anything from climbing a mountain, to volunteering in the local community, to even sitting around and talking as a group.
Running as a team building activity
I recently took part in a 10K run alongside colleagues in my team at work. Being an avid runner who runs virtually every single day, I was excited to enter an event with colleagues. I wondered if entering a running event with work colleagues could contributed to building a strong team dynamic.
Race day came and my work colleagues and I had an amazing time. My question was answered; running was be a fantastic team building activity.
What are the team building benefits of running?
At work, it can be tempting for us to become absorbed in the glare of a computer screen or the thousands of words in a report. Sometimes, we sadly neglect to get to know those we are working with.
Running is a brilliant way to develop relationships with teammates because it provides a platform for interactions to happen outside of a formal environment. There are no e-mails, reports or meetings to distract our attention.
Running with your colleagues is an opportunity to develop rapport, establish trust and understanding outside of the working environment. Therefore, the interaction feels less formal and relaxed so relationships can be enhanced.
Whether you’re participating in an event or having a casual jog, take time to talk to your teammates before and after you run. If you’re going to eat or get a coffee as a group afterwards, get out of your comfort zone and ask to engage your co-workers in conversations.
Ask questions, listen ardently, speak about your hobbies and interests, tell jokes. Talk to your teammates as human beings and you will start to build deep connections.
When you next go to work with your colleagues, you’ll feel comfortable working with individuals you have a stronger relationship with. Give running with colleagues a try.
Positive reinforcement improves confidence
It’s important for those working in a team to feel confident in their abilities. If those in your team don’t believe in themselves and their abilities, they won’t have the confidence necessary to perform highly. Running as part of team building can help teammates build each other’s confidence.
When teammates run together during an event or a casual jog, they can encourage to keep going and tell each other they’re doing a great job. This works particularly well when someone is struggling, and other members of the team motivate them to keep pushing.
This creates positive reinforcement in the team and colleagues will soon start to have more belief in their running ability. Eventually, this positive reinforcement will start to be associated with the colleague giving the encouragement.
Soon enough, colleagues will soon start feeling more confident in themselves thanks to their colleague’s positive reinforcement. This can result in a happier atmosphere at work with colleagues feeling more confident in their abilities thus perform better in their roles.
Confidence is something we and our teammates could all probably do with more of. Running as a team building exercise can help to build it.
Running as a team building exercise provides a nice opportunity for colleagues to communicate outside of the work environment.
Work-place communication is usually dominated by those dreaded emails which people cannot seem to send enough of. It’s either that or relying on Whats App groups or Facebook messenger to send messages and relay information.
Though digital communication has its advantages, it means we struggle to build personal relationships and rapport with those we work with. This can make us feel lonely, isolated and like we can’t connect to those in our workplace. Not a good place to be or emotions to feel. Believe me.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our digital communication methods that we forget how powerful face to face conversation can be.
When we take time to interact with others on a face to face level, we learn lots about their communication style. Face to Face communication allows access to social cues like smiles, head nods and gestures. A communicative luxury which we are denied over text or email.
Doing a team building activity like running gives you a great opportunity to communicate with others in a face to face environment. The pre-race chat, the mid-race exchange of dialogue and the post race conversation in the pub or a café are fantastic chances to get some nattering going.
These situations for chatting allow you to communicate with your colleagues on a personal level. They allow you to learn about others communication style, how they transfer information and how they best understand what you are trying to say.
This can pay huge dividends later in a workplace situation when you need to approach a colleague for support or to inform them of something. Because you have put in time to interact with them on a team building running activity, you have learnt about what communication style they prefer and can therefore have a successful interaction.
As a result, you feel like you understand your co-workers and can comfortably work as part of the team with a level of understanding and respect for everyone. This goes miles for your overall wellbeing and enjoyment you derive from work.
Try running as a team building activity and build your teams ability to communication confidently and knowledgeably with one another.
Strengthen mental toughness
Running as a team building exercise can help strengthen mental toughness.
Due to the pure physical nature of running, it can be a challenging experience. When we face difficult experiences and overcome them, we build mental toughness.
Mental toughness refers to how resilient you are in the face of adversity. It’s all about resisting the urge to succumb to worry and anxiety, instead choosing to face your problems head on.
Mental toughness is something that all teams need. Both as a group and for the individuals themselves. A tough project, demanding clients, creative challenges and sales issues can all create anxiety and cause team and individual morale to diminish.
However, if your team have developed strong mental toughness – with a little help from a running team building exercise – they should cope better. I’m not saying organising a running activity is the silver bullet for workplace morale, but it certainly helps.
Get your team running in a challenging race. Organise a difficult trail route to run. Try pushing your team to new limits by setting time targets.
You might be uncomfortable at the thought of pushing your colleagues like this but you’d be surprised at how effective a challenging situation like running can have for mental toughness.
When you organise running as a team building activity, you offer a chance for them to build their mental toughness. As such, they feel more resilient and strong in the workplace and may be able to deal with challenges with more confidence.