Can trust building exercises really help your employees to trust each other?
The short answer is “yes”!
What if your employees don’t trust each other?
Not good for your business, right?
“Trust” is a powerful word and without it, you can’t build a successful team of employees. If you’re a business leader or manager, here are 10 trust building exercises for your employee teams.
10 Trust Building Exercises for Your Employee Teams
#1. Balloon Balance
The goal of this exercise is to make someone rest on inflated balloons without any external support.
- Divide the participants into teams of 5-8 members each.
- Then, give a lot of inflated balloons to each team.
- Now, get a volunteer from the team who is ready to try new things and take risks.
- After that, instruct the team mates to float their volunteer with the support of balloons.
- Now, the volunteer should be able to lye down on the supporting balloons. He must rest only on the balloons and not on the floor or any other person.
- Then, you can continue this exercise by withdrawing one balloon at a time carefully. This is to support the volunteer with less number of balloons.
#2. Mine field
Mine field is one of the popular trust building exercises. Here a sighted person guides his blindfolded member to walk through the mine field. This activity can also improve communication and listening skills.
- Set up the “minefield” by placing empty plastic bottles, foam balls, paper cups, etc. all over the space.
- Then, divide the participants into different pairs.
- In each pair, cover the eyes of one person using blindfold. He should not see or talk during the activity. The other person is able to see or talk, but must not enter the mine field or touch his blindfolded partner.
- Now, the blindfolded person should walk through the mine field (without touching the mines) by listening to the verbal instructions of his partner.
- Once the blindfolded person reaches the other side, switch roles and repeat the activity.
#3. Eye contact
This is another simple, yet powerful exercise for trust building. Eye contact enables employees to trust each other and make them work towards a common goal.
- Divide the participants into pairs.
- Now, instruct each pair to stand facing each other.
- Then, ask each pair to stare into their partner’s eyes for at least 60 seconds.
- Remember, people must not wear sunglasses in this activity.
In this trust building activity, team members should move together like a snake and pick up several objects.
- Divide the participants into small teams, preferably 6-10 members each.
- At the same time, place several soft objects all around the room.
- Each team should stand in a line (snake) where the first five members should be blindfolded, and the last member (tail end) is able to see.
- The sighted person should guide the “snake” to pick up the objects by providing nonverbal instructions to his teammates in front.
- On the other hand, the blindfolded person who is standing in the head end should pick the object.
- After completion, he can remove the blindfold and move to the tail end to guide the snake. At the same time, the sighted person should wear the blindfold.
- The activity continues until all the objects are picked up.
In this trust building exercise, the blindfolded participants should construct a tent by listening to the instructions of their leader who has frostbite.
- Split the participants into teams of 5-6 members.
- Now, choose a leader from each team, and assume he has frostbite so he can’t move.
- The rest of the team members should be blindfolded. At the same time, they should assume that they have snow blindness. Therefore, they can’t see.
- Now, the blindfolded team members should construct a tent by listening to their leader’s instructions.
#6. Running Free
To conduct this exercise, you need a large open space (preferably an outdoor space).
In this exercise, a sighted person leads his blindfolded partner to walk and run.
- Divide the participants into pairs.
- In addition to that, one member from each pair should be blindfolded and he can’t see.
- Then, ask each pair to hold their hands.
- Now, the sighted person should guide his blindfolded partner to walk and gradually run fast.
- Once this is done, switch the blindfold and repeat the activity.
#7. Blind Wine Waiter
This is an interesting trust building activity that requires pretty good effort from every participant. Here the blindfolded members should help their leader (who is unable to move or use his hands) to drink a glass of wine.
- Divide the participants into teams of 6 members each and then, ask each team to choose a leader.
- After that, the leader should sit near to the team in his hands and he is not allowed to move or use his hands during the activity.
- Then, ask the remaining team members to wear the blindfold. They should only use their right hand and place their left hand behind their back throughout the activity.
- Now, place a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and a wineglass in different locations around the room for each team. Place everything safely so that they won’t fall or break easily.
- Actually, the task for the blindfolded members is to find one bottle of wine, one wineglass, and a corkscrew.
- Then, they need to open the wine bottle and pour their leader a glass of wine. Make sure that each team member can complete only one task.
- Don’t forget that the leader should drink the wine without using his hands.
#8. Hug a Tree
In this exercise, two blindfolded partners should try to find a tree and hug it. In reality, this activity should be conducted in a forested area.
- Split the participants into blindfolded pairs.
- Then, instruct them to find a tree and hug it.
- Now, each pair should lead to a tree through touch and feel.
- Once the pair hugged a tree, they should lead away.
- Then, remove the blindfold and ask them to identify the tree they hugged.
#9. Blind Polygon
This is an interesting activity because it comes with a lot of surprises. In this activity, the blindfolded team members should form various shapes like a square, triangle etc. using a rope.
- The team members should be blindfolded and then form a circle by stretching out their arms.
- Now, they need to drop hands and sit down.
- After that, the facilitator needs to place a rope in the middle of the circle.
- Then, request the members to find the rope by moving slowly. They need to work together to form various shapes, say a perfect square, a triangle etc. with each person holding on to the rope.
- However, the team members are not allowed to let go of the rope.
- Once they feel the task is finished, remove the blindfolds to see the results.
#10. Trust Lean
This trust building exercise requires good fitness or physical strength. The goal of this activity is to catch a falling person.
- Firstly, ask the participants to form pairs with the individuals of similar height and weight.
- In each pair, one person should be the catcher and the other one should be the faller.
- Instruct the faller to stand upright, keep feet together, put hands across chest resting on shoulders and keep body stiff.
- Now, instruct the catcher to stand behind the faller by putting one leg in front of the other, extending arms and balancing the body to handle weight.
- Then, the faller should slowly lean backward and the catcher must catch him. Start with a small fall and then gradually increase the speed.
- Once finished, switch roles and repeat the activity.
Note: It is better to conduct this activity in a grassy and smooth area. If you conduct it inside a room, make sure that the floor is well protected to avoid injuries.