Fantastic Team Icebreaker Games for Better Teamwork

When companies don’t prioritise team-building activities both veteran and rookie employees alike are less likely to have genuine friends in the workplace. Team icebreaker games are one of the quickest paths to a connected team because all participants are in it together.

A recent report stated that only 24% of workers say they have a strong connection with their colleagues. This means that three in four employees at the average organisation feel at least a bit isolated from their team. Successful companies are driven by teams with strong bonds which in turn raise employee engagement levels and productivity.

One of the easiest ways organisations can foster these strong bonds among their employees is by making use of team icebreaker games, which are short and simple activities that help folks get to know one another on a personal level.

Team icebreaker games can help rookie employees feel comfortable around their new coworkers and also help veteran employees get to know workmates they rarely cross paths with. Here are 10 awesome team icebreaker games you can try with your team members.

What ticks you off?

Take a personality test as a team and take the time to understand the different personality traits, their strengths, their weaknesses, and devise a plan on how potential clashes can be dealt with. Choose one that isn’t too complicated such as the True Colors personality test that gives easily remembered results.

Knowing what makes other team members tick is powerful. By determining under which circumstances each team member works best, and how they react in various different situations, employees can learn how to best to work with each other for desired common goals and interact on a personal level.

Show me the lie

Give each team member five identical pieces of paper for them to write down four truths and one lie, which should be considerably believable i.e. not something like “I once took a nap on the moon”. Go around the group, one at a time, and have them read the truths and lie in random order. When they are done, the team should discuss which they think are the truths and which ones are the lies.

This is one of the team icebreaker games that helps the team learn about each other and gives both introverts and extroverts an equal chance to reveal themselves and discover others’ assumptions.

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Bartering puzzles

Break your team into equal sized groups. Give each team a distinctly different jigsaw puzzle of equal difficulty and a fixed amount of time to complete the puzzle as a group. Some of the pieces in each group’s puzzle should belong to the other groups’ puzzles.

The goal for each group is to complete its puzzle before the others and hence must – as a group! – figure out how to convince the other teams to give up the pieces they need, be it through barter, exchanging team members, doing a merger, donating time to another team, etc.

Though often time-consuming, this is one of those team icebreaker games that inspire creative teamwork on several levels. As a team, they must find a way to convince the other teams to help them. In other words, they must solve both the puzzle and the problem of getting their pieces back.

team icebreaker games

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Scavenger hunt

Divide your team into equal sized groups, and send them out with a list of items to find and return within a limited amount of time. The goal for each group is to come back first with the most items. You can also make it a digital scavenger hunt in which they must find specific information or web pages online with a restriction on which search engines, if any, they can use.

A scavenger hunt is one of those fun team icebreaker games that force people to work together as a team. It spurs creativity, particularly if it is themed and includes clues and/or riddles are.

Show and tell

Set aside a regular day for “show and tell” where a team member gets to bring something in and/or make a presentation about a topic of their interest. It should be mandatory for all team members to attend and also have a question and answer session afterwards.

Everyone has things that interest them, from hobbies to pet projects, that they would like to share with the group but most teams are lopsided, with some members, usually the ones with big characters, dominating discussions.

Regular “show and tell” sessions give all team members a chance to experience being the center of attention and become familiar with giving presentations and fielding questions.

Blind drawing

Divide your team into duos with each person sitting with their back to their partner. One person should have a picture and the other a blank sheet of paper and a pencil.

The former must not show their partner the image but rather describe it while the latter draws what is being described within a fixed amount of time. They also must not use the exact words. For example, a picture of a frog sitting on a hat can’t be described as “draw a frog on a hat” but instead must use other adjectives and directions.

This is of the team icebreaker game that focus on communication and language. The final drawing rarely resembles the picture but teaches the team members how differently instructions can be interpreted.

The perfect square

Sit your team members in a circle and blindfold them all. Taking a long rope with its ends tied together, place the rope in each person’s hands so that they all have a hold of it. Leave the circle and instruct them to form a perfect square out of the rope without removing their blindfolds.

Once the team believes they have made a square, they can remove the blindfolds and see what they have done.

This is one of those team icebreaker games that expose both communication and leadership styles: some team members will want to take charge while others will want to be given direction and the team will have to communicate and work together to create the square, without seeing each other.

The perfect question

Come up with several scenarios in which a person would be chosen to do something such as getting hired for a new job, getting married or commanding an army. Ask each team member to come up with the “perfect” question – it must be just one! – that should be asked of a person that would determine if they were the perfect fit for the scenario.

Each team member should write their question down and once all scenarios have been covered, discuss the questions as a group.

This helps team members quickly learn how each other thinks differently. What each team member thinks would be the perfect question says a lot about what drives them and what they value the most.

teamwork game

Credit: Pexels

Artificial society

Get your team members together and create a mini-aspect of larger society, such as an economy, for yourselves. Establish the rules you will abide by, leaving enough room for problems (that require the group to agree in order to solve them) to arise as the system is enacted.

Some team members will abide religiously by the rules and others will creatively bend them. The team will quickly learn how others work, solve, and think, bringing new understanding to their conflicts.

Penny for your thoughts

Gather pennies (or any other coin) such that each team member has one and the year on the coin is within your team’s lifespan i.e. none of the coins should be dated older than the youngest on your team. Throw the coins in a bowl, and have each person randomly pick out a coin and share with the rest of the team something significant that happened to them in that year.

This is one of those team icebreaker games that help your team get to know each other, and it’s a quick ice-breaker to loosen up the team before a meeting such that it has a much warmer, cooperative feel.

In Summary

Any organisation that wants to be successful should take deliberate steps to ensure their employees get to know the people they work with – this increases the chances they are happy and engaged at work.

In today’s business environment, personal interactions amongst employees don’t always occur organically. Team icebreaker games provide a welcomed break from the regular work routine and break down barriers that might exist between employees. They make it easier for employees to communicate with one another by enabling interactions that would never happen during a normal workday.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.