Turning Friction into Friendship

By 08/04/2019 Public Blog
Team Building Solid Teams

In a workplace setting, friction is a natural occurrence. However, one of the things that make it difficult is that often goes unnoticed. A team building activity with an escape room is an excellent opportunity to detect subtle conflicts between employees, break the ice for newbies and overall lead to better team unity.

But to truly see the advantages of such activities, it is important to note that leaders should not wait for friction to escalate into full conflict. You don’t want to be sitting in the Human Resources office and doing extra work solving a problem that could have been prevented.

That said, it is also important to note that there are many ways friction in a team can develop. It can be cultural differences, unfamiliarity or seeming lack of compatibility.

The good news is that fun experiences like escape rooms make for excellent avenues to ease that tension and open the door for dialogue between conflicting team members. Here are just a few examples that you can try.

Use the activity to celebrate a newbie’s hiring.

It is often recommended to give new hires more than just basic orientation when they start. An escape room activity can be an exciting way for them to have fun with their new co-workers and bring down barriers that reduce their shyness.

It can also be an interesting way to see how a new hire often reacts to problem-solving situations. Identifying their key strengths and ability to work with their team can further improve ways you can help stay in synch instead of out of it.

Introduce a specific challenge that can teach teamwork lessons.

During the bustle of daily work, the friction that goes on between two or more members may not be so evident to themselves. Furthermore, it can be difficult to call it out and make them aware of this problem.

Consider picking an escape room challenge that emulates their daily work flow and see how well they perform. After that, try showing them the parallel you have drawn and use the results to make them aware that you have been observing their recent lack of teamwork.

That opens the floor for the dialogue you might need to look deeper into what is wrong. Some members may simply be unaware that their work styles are making it hard to keep up. Other times it can be when a member feels overshadowed and hesitant to contribute. At the very least, you are closer to a solution to help them perform better.

Participation can distinguish team players from non-team players.

Lastly, sometimes all the friction is the result of one or two employees’ lack of engagement with their work and their colleagues. It could be because they have little desire to actually stay long in the company, or simply don’t see their life at work as anything of importance.

Naturally, there are plenty of other ways you can spot signs of this in the office. But if you want to be sure, you can use an escape room team building activity to further gauge their willingness to participate.

The results can be surprising too. It may very well be that the experience will help them connect with their colleagues (and vice-versa). Alternatively, the lack (if not complete absence) of the employee will at least show that they are really likely to opt out soon.

This doesn’t mean that there are no further complicated issues that are creating friction at work. But if you want to start looking into them and finding clues, a little excursion into an escape room can bring them further into light.

Julia Billyard

Author Julia Billyard

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