There are two key factors in the building of morale, pride, and spirit: the time spent together in shared experiences and the communication among team members . It is the quality and quantity of both time and communication that bring success. Building morale, pride, and spirit doesnt happen overnight.
There should be many shared experiences both personal and professional in which all team members are collectively involved. Shared experiences cause team members to change from focusing on themselves to identifying with the team. Spending time and sharing experiences with one another does not mean sitting next to one another in cubicles or going to staff meetings together. These things by themselves will not build morale, pride, and spirit.
Spending time with one another and sharing experiences can be accomplished in a social context. Some may view this as a waste of time, but it can be a most effective means of building morale, pride, and spirit. The time spent doing this is really an investment in the team and its vision. Rather than spending more time working, spend some time in social activities. This may sound counterintuitive, but it will actually have a high impact in achieving the increased productivity and teamwork we desire . Shared social activities improve communication, understanding, and relationships among team members. They also cause members to identify more closely with the team. They are therefore critical to the process. Many leaders actually budget for social activities; this is money well spent. There are many creative ideas on how the team can spend quality time together other than in meetings and in an official capacity. Leaders can choose from the following list or create their own lists of activities that would be acceptable and well received by their team members. The personalities of the team members and the situation of the team would dictate which social activities would have the highest positive impact. Sound judgment must also be used because too many social activities could actually have a negative effect on morale. This would be true if team members have a high preference for introversion and a low need for inclusion.
The following ideas have high potential to build morale, pride, and spirit:
A meeting focused solely on new ideas to improve current products, practices, and procedures
A problem-solving meeting focused specifically on solving a key problem that the team is experiencing, with one person designated as the devil s advocate
A decision-making meeting focused specifically on making decisions that would affect the entire team
A weekly meeting, preferably on Friday afternoon, during which team members share their key accomplishments of the week and their key activities for the upcoming week, followed by a social time on-site or going together to happy hour
A monthly or quarterly breakfast or lunch with no work agenda
A tradition of ordering pizza for Friday lunch, bringing doughnuts on Monday, having a popcorn break in the afternoon, or something similar
Celebrating team members birthdays, even if its just with cake and coffee
Potluck lunches on special occasions (just prior to the holidays, to celebrate summer, to remember spring break)
A social chairman and committee to plan parties, outings, and picnics specifically to promote cohesion
Gathering to watch broadcasts of special sports events (the Super Bowl, the World Cup)
Going to local sports events with team members and their families
A field trip to a similar organization, a relevant historical site, a training or research institution, or an important customer or client
Doing something as a group for the community (adopting a stretch of highway , working on a Habitat for Humanity house, helping with Special Olympics, serving a meal at a homeless shelter)
Choosing relevant books or articles to be read and then discussed by the team
Monthly professional development classes on relevant topics
Attending popular movies that apply to the teams mission or getting together to watch such a movie on tape or DVD
Team-building activities (golf, volleyball, softball, paintball, laser tag, wilderness activities, orienteering, confidence or obstacle courses, leadership reaction courses, go-cart racing, boat and water experiences)
Personality assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Change Style Indicator, the FIRO-B, or 360- degree assessments to improve individual self-awareness and to provide insights on how to interact with each other
Singing at social events