Piece of paper with word leadership printed on it and old skeleton key laying on top of paperIt can be thrilling for employees to participate in corporate team building activities, because who doesn’t want to throw an axe or survive an escape room? Not only do they serve as opportunities for adventure, but they also get employees out of the office and away from their desks. It’s a win-win, right?

Maybe not. Effective team building events and leadership development strategies are about much more than just meeting at unusual destinations or experiencing a new challenge. They need to meet clear objectives, increase cohesiveness and emphasize outcomes. And that’s only the beginning.

Here are the top five team building and leadership trends to look for in 2020 that drive change and get tangible results.


1.  Tied to objectives and business benefits


Forward-thinking companies are increasingly focusing on team building initiatives that tie to specific objectives, business benefits, and leadership goals.

For example, we recently worked with a regional corporate team made up of directors who, according to their human resource representative, needed help with relationship building, camaraderie, and the ability to share resources.

While designing the event, I had an in-depth conversation with the team’s supervisor, and together we determined that objectives and business benefits would include:

    • Create opportunities to collaborate across boundaries within the event so that participants could then take what they learn and put into practice.
    • Tie in experience-based learning into real-world applications.
    • Enable team members to immediately apply new skills.
    • Help team members learn strategies for reaching out to other regions in effective ways.

While strengthening team relationships was crucial, the event was designed to be much more than just an opportunity for camaraderie. It was about addressing larger business issues, like how to help team members reach out to other regions and ultimately become more effective.


2.  Incorporate The 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™


Intact executive teams and leaders with innovative mindsets are looking for increased team effectiveness, collaboration, and cohesiveness. One of the most effective programs I incorporate into successful events is The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, based on Patrick Lencioni’s bestselling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

It focuses on five key areas that are paramount in creating a high-performance team:

    • Building a culture of trust
    • Encouraging healthy conflict
    • Raising the level of commitment
    • Ensuring accountability
    • Building team unity to improve results

In order to see change and create teams and leaders that are innovative and effective, individuals must learn and understand these behaviors and how they relate to commitment, cohesion, conflict, and accountability.


3.  Focus on interdependence


Interdependence in the workplace refers to the way employees interact, relate and rely on each other to accomplish tasks and goals. In other words, company success is predicated on drawing from each person’s contribution so that a greater goal is reached and everyone wins. If company leaders are looking for their business to be more productive and efficient, everyone must work with other parts of the organization to make that happen.

By adding elements in leadership development and team building that focus on interdependence, it allows participants to really lock arms and work together for the organization’s success, not just for a department or small section of the organization.


4.  Emphasize outcomes over output


Output refers to the products, services or activities of your organization. Output measurements do not address the value or impact of your products or services. Outcome, on the other hand, is the level of performance or achievement that occurred because of the activities, services or products your organization provides.

Team building events and leadership initiatives should focus on outcomes – the value and impact of your product or services. The focus should be on much more than just if employees are working hard so they can check off tasks. Focusing on output leads to burnout, which results in decreased production and an unhealthy workforce. If this is a problem in your organization, start by reading Dealing with Burnout. And then address it in your team building and leadership initiatives in 2020.


5.  Link focus and mindfulness to success


A person’s ability to focus directly determines individual, team and company success. But teams and leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to focus on much of anything at all because we’re constantly being pulled in a million different directions. Our energy, time and attention is constantly jumping from the daily tasks at hand to unexpected challenges, internal crises, emails, phone calls, annoying interruptions, and endless meetings.

When your focus is solely on one activity at a time, you can become absorbed in what you are doing, and performance is enhanced. Practicing mindfulness gives you that focus, opening you up to being truly aware and present in the moment, and zoned in on your goal. When teams and leaders learn how to incorporate mindfulness into the workplace, we learn how to give our whole selves to tasks or projects and achieve peak performance.


What Do You Want or Need?


Based on your current role, what areas of focus do you think your teams or leaders need the most in terms of team building and leadership development trends? What type of events or initiatives would you like to see implemented in your company or organization for 2020? Tell me about them below – I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!


Businessmen standing in front of an earth map


Most leaders struggle with disengagement, dysfunction, and non-productive behaviors with their teams. We deliver training that develops leaders and engages teams to increase your company results.