Successful relationships at work or outside depend on mutual trust: When you understand others and respect their differences, you set the basis for a non-threatening atmosphere that encourages others to contribute towards a common goal. Games that help create this mutual respect and empathy in turn improve communication and teamwork – two important aspects that make for harmonious relationships and determine the success of the team in achieving its goals.
Get all group members to sit in a large circle, and give each one a sheet of paper. Have each person write his name at the top of the page, and pass the sheet around the group. At the bottom of the paper, each person writes one thing he values about the person whose name is on the sheet, folds it so the next person cannot see what he has written, and passes it on. This continues until everyone receives back the sheet with their name on it. Have each person silently read what others have written, and encourage them to preserve this list and look at it any time they feel their self-respect or confidence go down.
Place “mines” – objects such as cones or bowling pins – small distances apart, in a random fashion. Divide the group into pairs. In each pair, one person is blindfolded and left on one side of the mine field, and the other person – the “guide” – is at the other end and cannot enter the field. The activity consists of the “guide” calling out instructions to the blindfolded person to help her walk across the field, avoiding the “mines.” On successful completion, the pair swaps roles, with the blindfolded person now becoming the “guide.” This activity creates trust and respect for the judgment of the “guide.”
Create groups of five people and give each group two sheets of paper. On one sheet, ask the the group to list something the entire group has in common, other than traits that they can see, such as all having hair. On the other sheet of paper, ask the group to list at least two unique qualities of each person in the group. Again, it should not be something which is obvious or that everyone can see, but a characteristic. This activity serves to create respect as people realize their commonalities, learn something new about each other, and focus on their uniqueness.
Create a list of diverse strengths different employees may pride themselves on. Ask each employee to write down the three they feel describe them best. Then ask each person to stand up one at a time and share why these strengths matter in their job. Have the employee's team members come up with an example of the employee practing one of her given skills before the next person goes. At the end, remind employees that they often have similar skills, but that sometimes people with different strengths are necessary to moving a project forward.