The two gentlemen on team number five were probably the least two excited people you could find in the large group of engineers. An outright scowl on one. Frequent eyerolling from the other. Standing several feet away from and on either side of their team.
Fast forward through an hour of playing with dominos. Frequent obstacles and failure baked into the event design. Opportunities for frustration and blame readily available. Yet, the same two guys were high fiving, chest bumping, all smiles and laughter.
The meeting planner pointed them out to us saying,
“Those two only sit one cubicle apart in the office. I’ve never once seen them speak to each other.”
You don’t have to look hard to see authenticity is a hot topic. From speaker, writer and researcher Brene Brown to business blogs like Entrepreneur and the Harvard Business Review, the world is talking about what it means to be authentic and how it impacts our lives and our work.
Authenticity itself along with its benefits can be hard to pin down. You can use it discover your best self or to excuse a lot of poor behaviors.
So how can it help your team?
Do you know the people on your team?
We’ve discussed before how connections between individuals in the workplace are a difficult nut to crack.
How do you maintain professionalism and establish healthy boundaries at work and still value and uphold authenticity? Everyone will have their own take on this, some choosing to “leave work at work” and some seeing their career as much of their identity.
Different companies and whole industries even, have cultural norms of how much or how deeply people socialize within the work setting.
Play and team building then, serve a critical need to create and allow at least small moments in time for authenticity.
People sometimes need permission to be themselves. In all their silly, wacky, glory.
The story we shared of the two men is the perfect example of individuals who, prior of this setting, were not comfortable connecting. Who knows, maybe they could have retreated right back to their cubicles the next day, but doubtful.
Humans are social and introverts and extroverts alike, use social interactions as fuel for creating neural context, memories and innovation.
Outcome and Impact of Authenticity
Once you create connections between team members, the possibilities are, quite frankly, endless.
Embracing authenticity can have a plethora of benefits. People will feel more comfortable sharing ideas, raising contrary opinions and working together to try out new concepts. Knowing and building relationships with people who are not like them will increase their ability to empathize with others.
This creates more flexibility in their assessment of situations and scenarios, building the ability to shift and adapt.
You’ll end up with more – and higher quality – innovation coming from the work groups on your teams. Your team members will likely be more flexible. In this day and age, what organization can afford to live without innovation and flexibility? Dare we say authenticity?
How have you seen authenticity work for your team?
Ready to host or run a teambuilding event of your own? Click here. You can also fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 855-TEAM-BLD
In business since 2002, PlayWorks Group is an award-winning team building events and meeting design firm serving North America and the Caribbean.