Teams may vary in size, type and purpose, but they share one common thread that is non-negotiable regardless of the nature of the team; they must work together as one to accomplish anything. Teams large and small often contain individuals with conflicting personalities that must be put aside in the greater interest of team goals. There are many ideas one can use when trying to unite a team of any sort.
This type of team building event is ideal for a sports or club team that organizes its activities into seasons. The kick-off party need not be formal, but should serve to unite members of the team, new and old. If the goal is to bring together a new baseball team, for example, consider holding a kick-off barbecue at the coach's or captain's home. Alternatively, if the objective is to unify a chess team, for example, try holding a for-fun tournament at a local restaurant.
Team "Open Books"
The single most important factor that can serve to unite a team and break down barriers caused by cliques and other groups is complete honesty. While team members must take their cues from the top (meaning coaches, captains or whatever type of team leader a particular team may have), it is important to eliminate gossip from the team atmosphere altogether. One way to do this is by having "Open Book" sessions periodically, where team members can air their concerns, frustrations or displeasure and be assured that the issue will be resolved before the session is terminated.
The power of words to lift one's spirits or inspire a group should not be taken lightly. Motivational quotes are an excellent way to bring team members together by reminding them of their common goals and aspirations. Try having each team member take turns sending a "quote of the week" email throughout the season/year, and have each member explain what the quote means to him in relation to the team as well.
While sometimes costly, team retreats are a great way to promote team unity and cohesion. Usually, a no-frills weekend spent at a campground or other modest accommodations, with team members sleeping at least four to a room, dining together and participating in every activity together, will serve to unite a team quickly. While personality conflicts may arise, team members will learn quickly how to deal with differences when spending all their time with each other. A team retreat creates a bond amongst team members that continues long after the retreat has ended.