Why the Holiday Party is Not Corporate Team Building

Holiday Parties are Not Corporate Team Building

The holidays are upon us. Starting with trick or treat, continuing with stuffing ourselves with turkey dinner, and wrapping up with the December holidays. No matter which holiday is celebrated, corporate America piggy backs on the “festive season” and tries to kill two birds with one stone; celebrate the season and “facilitate” team building.  

Sounds cost effective, right? However, corporate America needs to pause on planning the perfect holiday party and make sure it won’t be considered THE team building activity for the year. Of course, the team is strengthened when team members socialize, but attending a party does not replace:

  • Problem solving
  • Uncovering strengths and weaknesses of the team
  • Uncovering individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Identifying work styles/communication preferences

After a holiday party, coworkers may be able to ask how the wife/husband/kids are doing, but they will not be able to leverage a unique insight into a problem at work.

Does Not Uncover Roadblocks

Due to the true nature of the holiday “party”, people are often on their best behavior, putting on their most pleasant personas. Valuable team building challenges workers to step outside socialized reactions/behaviors to uncover how they, as an individual solves a problem or draws upon unique skill sets to tackle a challenge. Wondering why a coworker did not ask their significant other if they wanted a drink won’t help uncover why they held back from the team when they were frustrated by a problem.

Does Not Maximize Interactions

The boss bopping around from group to group to socialize and make sure “everyone is having a good time” does not necessarily build the team. Team building uncovers what motivates the team and what makes up each individual within the team through awareness. If the self is not aware of its actions/reactions, there is no way interactions with others can improve.  This is where a team building facilitator encouraging the individuals to be aware of why they think and do what they do is key. If you don’t know how your actions impact other individuals and the dynamic of the team, interactions with others will never improve.

Does Not Identify Takeaways

Walking away from a party realizing that so and so actually has a sense of humor does not enable that coworker to realize their behavior is often construed as negative and unapproachable in the office. The impressions are often one-sided, with no opportunity for self-realization and change, if necessary. Team building helps team members work through misconstrued impressions, and allow both parties be aware of their behavior to approach a problem or interaction in a productive way.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to kick back with coworkers and get to know one another better during the holidays. The holiday party is a very important way for organizations to say, “thank you” to workers. But, do not confuse that with team building. True team building exposes weaknesses/strengths, improves communications and uncovers changes that need to be made to improve the team going forward.

Engage in True Team Building with Larry Lipman!

Larry is a Team Building Specialist who success coaches participants into powerful, cohesive TEAMS. He can help engage your team to reach real results and achieve participant buy-in for new ideas and solutions. Call Larry today at 770-333-3303 and find out for yourself how powerful team building can be for your organization!

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