Do Outdoors Programs Help Build Leaders and Teams?

Over the years, companies have tried various strategies for increasing worker efficiency and productivity. One of the more well-known strategies has been the outdoor experience for workers to help with team building.

In this type of exercise, workers go out into a wilderness setting where they do various exercises that have different goals for the workers. But just how effective is this type of training, and what kind of purpose is it best used for?

For many companies, these kinds of activities can help with team building, according to Sheila Campbell, who leads a training retreat company. However, it would be stretching things a bit to use them for leadership training, or to help identify people who have leadership potential, Campbell says.

What an outdoors program does is help people  be more creative in problem solving. They have to work together in order to make it through the obstacles with which they are confronted on the courses. Also, these types of programs can help people overcome their fears and become more confident.

But you have to be careful when you plan outdoor programs. They’re not for everybody, and you have to take into account the people who will be participating. They should generally be active and in good shape. They should be the type of people who are not averse to a little risk taking.

But, for some people, the idea of these programs just causes a sense of anxiety and stress. They may worry about failing and doing so in a very public way. If your participants are more the sedentary type or are older, the outdoor program might not be the best kind of team-building exercise for them. They might appreciate a more subdued kind of training.

But Campbell counsels that it would be misguided to try and use this type of program to judge leadership potential. The fact that someone could show strong leadership in an outdoor training exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that those particular leadership skills will be applicable in a work setting. Leadership ability, she says, is best determined through a specific set of performance criteria that have been developed to apply to the needs of the company.

When you need workers for temporary or direct-hire opportunities at your Anchorage, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Lake Oswego, or Chicago company, contact a recruiter at the Opti Staffing Group. We’re experts at sourcing, vetting and placing great people with great companies and we’d love to learn how we can do the same for yours. Contact us today!

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