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Great Managers Use Team Building Games

Many people have debated me on this topic. Their assertion is that “great managers don’t play games and great managers are serious-minded about managing people, budgets, time-lines and deadlines. They do not include humor. In fact, the managers who laugh a lot are demonstrating they are not competent.”

What? I want to know where these debaters have worked! They certainly haven’t worked with great managers. What do you think?

I recently attended the FBI Citizens Academy to expand my perspectives and learn a lot about the agency and my community. It’s a blast. Each time I go, one of the topmost managers in the Washington Field Office, James McJunkin, shows his humor with us, the attendees, and also with his staff. In fact, he openly cracks jokes and teases his support team in front of us. We all respond with great respect. It’s clear he has built his career using humor and high-level team building skills to attain his high position. I would have thought the FBI was as serious an organization as any.

One of the best managers I’ve had the pleasure of working with was the man who I quote on the home page of this website: “We need to de-seriousize this place.” He used humor in his dealings with people, including clients, every day. One day I asked for profitability reports on all the partners of the firm. Would you be surprised to know that the partner with the playful attitude is the very same partner with profitability numbers that by far out ranked any of the other partners? Yes, he was a very talented man in his profession but so were the others. Staff and clients simply loved working with him. He made work fun and he understood and capitalized on the strengths of the people who made his day.

Good managers – whether in business or not – will do best if they know how to motivate the people they are charged with managing. They also incorporate games, competitions, fun activities and ice breakers to keep their teams working well.

A great manager I worked with as a consultant had a habit of challenging his staff constantly. His challenges were always fun and went a long way in charging up the atmosphere. His staff had the lowest of problems regarding morale, turnover, absenteeism and complaints.

As an example, one of his staff members embarrassingly said, “Sorry but this is the best our team could find.” The great manager responded with “I will challenge you that if your team calls (so-and-so) and goes to visit (so-and-so) you will get a wealth of information.” If I’m right, your team owes me lunch. If you don’t get golden research from these people, I owe your team lunch.

I watched the employee’s face as he could not hold back his laughter. The light-hearted challenges and spurts of fun infused daily kept these people in great spirits. This example is one of many where great managers use teambuilding activities to strengthen their teams and keep them motivated.

I’d love to hear your stories about team building activities used by great managers.


Another original article by The Game Gal.  You may reproduce all or part of this content as long as you provide attribution in the form of a link back to this website (or copy and paste the following:  http://www.GamesandTeamBuilding.com).  Thanks for being a great team player!

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