Helping Your Teams Bond with Ice-Breakers

Posted: Jul 21 2015

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Bringing departments together is never easy, especially if, other than company morning meetings and the odd chit-chat at the water fountain, they don't tend to communicate, perhaps as much as they should.

So, when teams are faced with a scenario that involves combining talents, it can be difficult for individuals to inspire each other and work to their strengths.

Partly because they may not know everyone's strong points in the other department and sometimes as a result of conflict, encouraging teams to bond and work towards a common goal together may feel like too much of a task, but is certainly worth it in the long-run. In fact, it is more than achievable, with the right tools and mindset.

When used correctly, ice-breakers can help to whittle away the walls departments have built, as well as foster positive, professional relationships between colleagues. On top of this, they can be extremely motivating and encourage a flow of communication, one that can be transferred to the meeting room and beyond.

But when do we need to use ice-breakers and what kinds of ‘ice' need to be broken? Read on for more.

Ice-Breaker Moments

Whilst ice-breakers are a great way to learn more about another individual; you need to pick your moments. Typically, these activities are used to introduce one team or set of individuals to another, however; you may also want to consider an ice-breaker if:

  • You have a new project or goal that requires input from all teams, leaving little time for bonding between departments
  • You're new to the company and you feel as though you would benefit from learning more about the team you will be leading or working with

Of course, ice-breakers will also be helpful before a big company event to encourage employees to interact.

Types of ‘Ice'

As mentioned, these activities are ideal for helping to introduce two teams or individuals, but the ice-breaker you use should partly depend on the reason for ‘breaking the ice'. You see, in many cases, new, unfamiliar faces aren't the only reason to organise an ice-breaking session; other motives may include:

  • A distinction in status - If individuals have defined roles and statuses, an ice-breaker can help to encourage discussion without a sense of authority or ‘rank' over one another
  • Conflict - If, however, the ‘ice' happens to be existing conflict in your current team, these activities can help individuals to communicate in a calm environment, outside of the cause of conflict, whether that is work-related or personal

So, when organising an ice-breaker, these are just a few points to consider. Of course, it is always worth keeping the benefits of these activities in mind, so you can watch your team develop and connect.

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