Team Bonding Games – The Characteristic Game

Happy patient has a breakthrough in group therapy while others are clapping her
Created by:
Herman Otten
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This is one of our team bonding games where the team will find out how each individual is perceived by the other team members

First the team will form a circle while sitting on the ground. Now everyone will write various personality traits and characteristics on the cards and put them in a hat. Then the team will divide the cards among everyone accordingly to who fits the traits displayed on the cards the most. When all the cards have been distributed everyone will see which traits have been assigned to him or her. This way, everyone immediately gets an image of how they are being perceived by the other team members.

The team members distritube positive as well as negative traits through the cards. This makes the exercise a safe and constructive way to discuss sensitive matters or tensions that have been going on for a while within the team. It’s the opportunity to speak out on which traits you appreciate in someone and which traits you like to see differently or changed entirely.

In the second part of the exercise the cards can be traded among eachother. In this part of the exercise it’s important to make the team aware that traits and characteristics on cards can be interpretated in multiple ways, positive as well as negative. This will make the team members realize that traits are either positive or negative depending on how they use them in practice.

Make sure this exercise is practiced in a safe atmosphere and use a little humour along the way so it won’t be too emotionally charged. In this exercise a discussion will never be able to arise since the one receiving a card is not allowed to defend him or herself. Safeguard this rule at all times.

During the exercise you can also use a couple of methods to give more depth and variety. A few examples on how to achieve this are listed below.

1: Multiple rounds
Do multiple rounds. This way more participants will draw cards from the hat and the rest of the team will also get different cards every round. This will enable multiple opinions from everyone to be heard.

2: Keep it playful
Make sure the exercise is practiced playfully and everyone feels safe. When the team feels comfortable and safe they are more likely to see it as a game rather than group therapy. This will encourage more honesty and will benefit the team the most.

3: Build it up gradually
When you feel it’s better to begin the exercise slowly and more positive you can start with only putting positive traits in the hat. For instance: start with 3 positive traits per person, put those in the hat and then distribute them. For the second round the participants can put 3 positive and 1 negative trait in the hat. Build up accordingly but make sure you don’t go overboard with the amount of negative traits!

4. Play the game only with positive characteristics. This way the team gets a positive feeling. When someone didn’t get a card during the game you can give a random person a blank card and let them write a positive characteristic what he thinks suits the person that didn’t get a card earlier. Do this until everyone has got a card with a positive characteristic 🙂

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Created by:
Herman Otten
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