The trust fall and human knot are popular team-building exercises for schoolkids, but these games really don’t translate well into the professional world to build respect. Your employees come from different backgrounds and have varied points of view. Reminding your team to value each other in spite of this diversity can really have a positive impact. Here are some team-building exercises that you can use to foster respect.


Encourage team members to share a high and low at the start of the meeting. It could be personal or professional. Don’t force your employees to share, just give them a chance. You don’t want to take a lot of time, but this is a reminder that everyone has ups and downs. Keep it brief.


Hang large pieces of paper around the room. Label each paper with different groups, black, women, Asian, Hispanic, etc. Give your team time to write stereotypes on each group. It doesn’t matter if the person doesn’t believe it or not. Some stereotypes can even be positive. Spend time talking about stereotypes and why they are unfair. Help your team learn not to assume anything about each other or customers. Remembering that each person is unique goes a long way toward building respect.


Role-play harassment situations and behaviors that arise in the workplace. You may even want to play against stereotype by having a woman play a boss who wants to see her male assistant in a speedo, for example. Discuss how these situations make people feel and how to handle harassment in the workplace. Let team members know that harassment is not acceptable and when to escalate. Many people just go on feeling uncomfortable instead of addressing harassment.

Team-building exercises should not be mandatory. You can’t force participation to build trust between your team. Contact Aspen Commercial Lending for financing options for your business.

For more information and a book full of great ideas for team building, check out this book by Mcgraw Hill. Having a team that stays together, works well together, and trusts each other can be the most significant factor in the success of your company. Are you paying enough attention to your people. “Build the people, and the people will build your business.” ~Zig Ziglar