Toxic atmosphere at work? Team-building exercises don't really work


  • Mind
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2020

Feedback is more important than team-building exercises in the office, experts say. — dpa

Colleagues whispering, rolling their eyes or making negative comments all the time – a toxic atmosphere at work can quickly cause stress and take a toll on your health.

Many managers will arrange team-building activities in a bid to raise morale and ease tensions, but according to experts, this rarely makes any difference.

According to Jan Schaller from Germany’s Institute for Occupational and Health Consultation, sending a conflict-ridden group on a white-water rafting adventure won’t do anything to address the root cause of the problem.

In order to create a pleasant working environment, it’s much more important to make sure that new team members fit in right from the start, during the application process itself, the expert says.

That can only happen when both parties are honest.

Companies also need a good feedback culture. That includes contact points to which team members can turn to during moments of conflict.

A suggestion box for anonymous complaints can be helpful.

Each employee should also be able to clearly communicate their needs to their colleagues, and likewise accept their colleagues’ points of view.

Managers also play a role – they shouldn’t be chosen purely for their professional expertise.

More important is that they can communicate well with employees and have a good feel for the team.

They also need to be good listeners and should hold regular feedback sessions with employees. – dpa


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