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Team Building that Lasts: Building Trust Beyond Trust Falls

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Team Building that Lasts: Building Trust Beyond Trust Falls

Photo Credit: "My First Earthquake - Trust Falls", Braden Kowitz, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kowitz/

What makes teambuilding stick? When does teambuilding take a turn from cheesy trust falls toward genuine connection?

I’ll tell you when.

When a team trusts each other and loves each other.

If you don’t trust your team mates, no amount of teambuilding games or activities will deepen your connection with them. Building trust means building the foundation of a successful team. So start there. Take a look at the level of trust your staff have with each other and with the company leadership. If trust is low, your foundation is weak. Take action to build (or rebuild) trust before you try and strengthen your team connection. How do you build trust? You open up lines of communication. You create an environment of transparency. You ensure that your staff feel that their contributions are heard and valued. You follow through on commitments. And you work together to find a common why: the purpose for which you are all working.

And, beyond trust, if you don’t love your team, teambuilding activities might be fun in the moment, but they won’t stick. I don’t mean love in the romantic sense; I mean love in the “active” sense: having love in your heart for your fellow teammates means seeing them, and treating them, as human beings first and colleagues second. It means knowing and caring what’s going on in their lives, stepping forward when someone else needs to step back, and looking out for each other. If you love your team, your primary focus is on ensuring that they feel cared for. And when people feel cared for, they feel connected.

Because here’s the thing: the team that I work with? We do cheesy trust falls and games with balloons and all manner of classic teambuilding activities all the time, and we actually like doing them together. We’re not rolling our eyes and waiting for the day to end. And that’s because it’s not actually about the game, in the end. It’s about being with each other. It’s about deepening connections. It’s team building that lasts.

And teams that build together perform better. Period.

So what are you doing to build your team today?



“Team Building that Lasts: Building Trust Beyond Trust Falls”, The Leadership Program, Inc. 2016


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.