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Team Bonding vs Team Building

When you’re planning your team offsite, you’ll probably want an element of team building or team bonding. They may sound swappable, but it’s important to understand the difference before we design your retreat.

Activities for “team-building” typically support a measurable goal. Clients are often looking to solve a problem, generate ideas, or improve efficiency, collaboration, or communication. Our customized team-building activities help our clients achieve these goals, while sharpening their teams’ leadership skills. An effective team building activity will have a clear objective from the outset, so people are clear and focused from the start.

At Wilder, an example of a highly-effective team building experience is the Leader Hike. Each member of the team is assigned a leadership role, such as the navigator or trail finder. They’re given a briefing in their new role, and the adventure begins. Leaders find themselves in a new position, in a new environment, leading a team on a topic they’re learning on the fly. Along the way, their decision-making skills are tested, while they’re challenged to trust and collaborate with the other leaders on the team. It’s proven to be a powerful exercise, because every challenge faced on the trail can be applied to work.

While team building can be more of a science, team bonding is the art of developing and strengthening relationships. Team bonding is the most profound when a group is put in an environment that is new to all of them, requiring the participants to navigate an unfamiliar setting and rely on each other for help.

When your team is at the office, in a conference room, or a restaurant for an offsite, they can lean on familiar relationship patterns from the office. But, when everyone is in a completely new environment, whether that’s a new city or the outdoors, you get a chance to learn the dimensionality of your colleagues and evolve your team dynamic. Uncovering a deeper layer of connection and understanding is team bonding. And, team bonding builds invaluable trust.

Team bonding doesn’t have to be an elaborate experience. Cooking a meal on an open fire or building a lean-to together can be transformational. Some of the benefits of team bonding are smoother communication, deeper connection, and a happier, more loyal team.

Can team-building and team-bonding be combined? Of course! As we’re designing your offsite, we’ll discuss your top goals, and create a retreat that no one will forget.

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