You’ve probably heard this mantra quite a bit lately: Teamwork makes the dream work. But, where does one even start in building an effective team? You have to meet others with whom you share a common interest or goal, get them all to meet with one another, and, most importantly, grow team spirit and rapport. Essentially, you need team-building activities, like hiking.
Hiking is indeed an excellent activity, whether you’re alone or with a group. Just being out in nature, with no urban distractions, is a great way to get many things done, especially in terms of problem-solving and communication. As trails aren’t always easy to navigate, communication and problem-solving can go a long way. Read on as we give you four great team-building activities to utilize while you and your team are on a hike.
Whether you’re going on a quick day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, you’ll need a reliable hiking backpack to help you carry and store your hiking gear. If you’re not sure about which pack you should get, check out our article about the best hiking backpacks to see which ones are our favorites.
Craft and Work Through Imaginary Scenarios
As beautiful as nature may be, it comes with various perils. There are all sorts of wildlife and bugs to worry about. You may have to figure out how to cross particularly rocky, rugged terrains or getting safely across the water, for that matter. That’s to say nothing of the weather, be it staying hydrated under the summer heat or maintaining your body’s heat during the winter.
Most importantly, as a team, it is expected you each look out for each other. So, what better way to build a team than to imagine that you are in these scenarios? It’s the perfect way to develop your team’s problem-solving skills!
- Role play that one of the team members has been badly hurt in a fall, and see how your team handles the situation.
- Find a solution to cross an imaginary stream.
- Work as a team to set up camp with limited supplies.
Choose an easy trail for your team to traverse, just to be fair, as everyone’s hiking skills differ. By working through these problems together, teams get stronger and may even prepare for difficult situations.
Pre and Post-assessment as a Team
Get with your team before and after the experience to open up to each other about concerns and discuss past hiking or other outdoor experiences. This is also your chance to share key details of the hike and its expectations and challenges for the team, for instance:
- How long is the hike?
- What kind of terrain should people expect?
- Will there be overnight camping?
- Does anyone have any conditions that may impact their physical skills?
- What’s the weather like?
These questions need to be asked, and people need to feel comfortable doing so. If it’s hard to get people talking, have some prepared questions ready that you can use to get the conversation started. Encourage people to share stories and ask questions.
Before starting a hike, everyone should feel free to express their potential concerns. Accommodations should be made for those who are more at risk. At the end of the hike, everyone should share how they feel and discuss any difficulties they had on the hike.
These discussions build communication, trust, and rapport amongst your team members, on top of acknowledging that everyone in the team is different.
Hiking with a group is great and is always a unique experience. But there are things your group must consider to ensure a successful group hiking trip. Lucky for you, we have an article that details everything you need to know about group hiking.
Get to Know Each Other Through a Scavenger Hunt
I think we all can agree that team members need to know each other in order for said team to be effective. With that in mind, they need to get to know each other beyond the purpose of what their team is.
In regular work environments, some team members may not even talk to one another much, if at all. But while hiking, there won’t be any city distractions in the way, such as noise, pollution, traffic, and so on. It’s just you, nature, and the rest of the team. With that being said, what is a better way to get to know each other once there?
Get together a scavenger hunt list of natural materials that may be found in the area where you are hiking. You may even include some common items that may be found by the team members. Then, randomly form a few teams, set a time and place to meet, and get started!
A scavenger hunt list might include any natural item or action, such as:
- A yellow leaf
- Something mossy
- A smooth stone
- Something green that isn’t a leaf
- Spotting a bird and write down what it looked like
- Taking a team selfie by the biggest tree you can find
You can have the teams bring the items back or take photos of them with their phones. It all depends on whether your trip is tech-free or not.
A scavenger hunt is always fun and encourages a team to work together to explore, problem-solve — and get back to the meeting place!
All teams need leaders, and the potential to be a leader rests in everyone. Alas, how does one create, and more importantly, build a leader in the first place? There are so many different answers to that question and so many different ways to train one for leadership, which is where hiking comes in handy yet again.
If hiking in a team, a leader is definitely needed. The leader prepares the trip, determines the route, searches for and alerts team members about obstacles, and, most importantly, leads the way.
This is the perfect way to build a team leader. And best of all, if you decide to make hikes a regular thing for your team, the team leader can be changed every time. It is a great way to build everyone’s leadership skills.
Hiking helps a person unwind. Apart from the adventure, you can create a memorable bond with your company. This can also increase and leave a quality impression on your partner. So, is hiking a good first date? Read our article to know more about the pros and cons of this activity.
You most likely never thought hiking could be as versatile an activity as this before reading this article, especially in regards to building a great team. But as you can now see, not only is hiking a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors, on top of being good for your physical and mental wellness, but it can also do wonders for a fledging team.
Without the inner-city disturbances, it’s a fantastic way for everyone on the team to simply get to know one another, which improves trust and rapport. Whoever guides the team gets some vital development in the valued skills of leadership.