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Executive Team Building Ideas to Break Down Silos

Management team building activities can tear down some of them. But if you're serious about getting rid of silos in your organization, you'll need to start at the top with executive alignment.

Management Team Building Activities

Sometimes, of course, managers are the "top" of the team that needs some alignment work. Cross-functional teams often bring together managers who wouldn't typically work together. Using management team building activities can build camaraderie, identify core common purpose(s) and ensure team effectiveness.

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Executive Team Building Ideas to Break Down Silos

Group Needs that Management Team Building Activities Can Address:

  • Lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities within the group can be a barrier to team effectiveness. Team building activities can help identify strengths in each individual that make it easier to see why some gravitate to certain roles and responsibilities.
  • Communication gaps resulting from time constraints, trust issues, style differences or lack of connectivity.
  • Shared decision making processes and practices can be built through team building activities.
  • Workflow and hand-off concerns. Team building activities can reduce finger-pointing and increase shared accountability for outcomes.
  • Group buy in and common vision.

Aims for with Management Team Building Activities:

  • Aim to break the ice. Managers may come into a collaboration with a competing or protecting mindset. Activities that thaw out the group set the team up for success.
  • Aim for leveling the playing field. Activities should help each team member to feel on equal footing with others.
  • Aim to get clarity on the common goals for the group.
  • Aim to build trust and camaraderie.
  • Aim to create protocols and build skills for resolving conflict between team members.

Considerations When Selecting Management Team Building Activities:

  • Managers are functionally proficient but don't have cross-functional business acumen. Diversify the activities to achieve broader appeal. I once attended a workshop where I felt completely alienated as I stood back and watched the engineers in the group dive into the complex problem-solving activities. There weren't any "touchy feely" type activities to provide a counterbalance that would have engaged me, too.
  • Managers have to be "on" at all times. Make their team building activities fun and low-stress. Make it okay to laugh and to lighten up in your session.
  • Managers are always on the lookout for ideas and activities they can take back to their own teams. Pick some activities that are easy to replicate.

Think through the desired outcomes and select activities that meet the specific needs of each individual group. A simple survey can often identify the primary needs and help a facilitator get right to the heart of a management team's greatest challenges.

Next Steps for Breaking Down Silos with Management Team Building Activities:

  1. Subscribe to the CONNECT2Win Blog RSS feed if you’d like to receive new posts each Friday to help strengthen your team.
  2. Download one of our eBooks “What Is Team Effectiveness & How Can We Get Some for Our Team? Stat!” or “How to Build Effective Teams: Insights on Workplace Team Building from 30 Top Experts
  3. Bring PFPS Executive Coaching or team effectiveness trainers in to help with your management retreat. Book a free consultation with Deb. No cost, no obligation.

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Deb Calvert is President of People First Productivity Solutions, the company that helps you build organizational strength by putting people first. Book Deb today to facilitate critical team meetings, to speak at your leadership or team events, to conduct retreats or workshops to improve team effectiveness, or to work with you as an executive coach. 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been recently updated.

Topics: team effectiveness, connect2win, CONNECT2WIN Blog


Deb's new book is a behavioral blueprint for success. It shows that tactics of highly effective sellers are also those of highly effective leaders -- and team players.

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