In different blogs, I’ve been offering some team building ideas.  As you might imagine, teamwork was so important throughout my Army career… because lives were at stake.

Here are 5 simple team building ideas to consider regarding the importance of teamwork:


Team Building Ideas

5 Team Building Ideas


1. Create Opportunities that are Enjoyable

In one blog, I mentioned the bonding that occurs around food. Whether getting together for a meal, or taking it a step further to include preparing a meal together.

In the December 2015 HBR article, “Team Building in the Cafeteria,” firefighters found this process was a very important part of their team building experience.

In another scenario, we incorporated team building into our regular physical fitness routine when I was running an ROTC program.

  • As a team leader, what activities can you combine into your routine and make a team building exercise?

 2. Accountability Partners Provide Feedback

To continue my previous physical fitness example, many people like to workout with a partner, for good reason. When you do, you feel more accountable because you don’t want to let the other person down.

In business when you partner with someone who is dedicated to achieving the same goals, you can accomplish more than you would on our own.

We called our accountability partners “battle buddies.” The simplest scenario is once again my physical fitness example.  Here, people with similar abilities would push each other on our release runs.

  • As a team leader, how can you pair employees to push each other?

 3. An Overarching Purpose: Employee Growth and Development

In another blog, I shared two ways to improve employee engagement and offered these suggestions:


  1. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect
  2. Everyone wants the opportunity to learn and grow


  1. Everyone wants to feel like their contributions matter
  2. Everyone wants to be a part of something greater
  • As a team leader, how do you develop your employees and make everyone’s efforts count?

4. Develop Mutual Trust by Insisting on Standards

Teamwork will never occur if you don’t insist on standards for interaction.

While serving as the battalion operations officer, Mike came into my office and asked to speak with me privately.

Mike: Sir, I’m having a problem with Danny.

Me: Have you spoken to Danny yet.

Mike: No sir.

Me: Then why would you expect me to intervene?

Mike: (no reply)

Me: Do you think it is fair to Danny that you haven’t addressed this issue with him first?

Mike: Well, no sir.

Me: OK, then why don’t you speak to him first, and only if you can’t work it out, then ask for my involvement.

I knew that if I had acted, I would be establishing that intervening in every little interpersonal conflict was something I would referee. More important, I wanted my staff to be able to resolve as much as possible on their own, allowing me to focus on more important issues.

  • As a team leader, how do you instill a spirit of cooperation?

 5. Leverage the Collective Efforts of the Team…

After every military exercise, we conducted and After Action Review to capture lessons learned while everything was still fresh in everyone’s mind.  The environment that the team leader creates for sharing feedback is critical.

  • As a team leader, how are you capturing feedback from everyone and creating the environment where everyone feels it is safe to share?

Here are a few examples that address the conduct and value of our After Action Reviews:

…and Leverage Everyone’s Unique Strengths

Finally, my good friend Gregg Zegarelli shares The Ben-Hur Team-Building Principle™.

Essentially, the story is from the historic movie and is about a chariot racer whose slower, more stable horse switched places from the outside position, with the faster, less stable horse on the inside position.

In the original configuration, the horses kept taking the chariot off the race track. After repositioning to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses, the charioteer began winning races.

  • As team leader, it’s your job to find the right combination!
core leadership values

I’m sure you have other team building ideas for your workplace. Check out  Chapter 3 of my new book, Unleash Your Values, How to Lead & Succeed in Business Today… A Helicopter Pilot’s Spin on Developing the Leader in You, titled Instill & Fulfill, for even more ideas. It’s FREE.