Six team building lessons The Hunger Games can teach us

December 5, 2016

Six team building lessons The Hunger Games can teach us

The Hunger Games is a popular film series, based on books by Suzanne Collins. The stories follow the struggles of Katniss Everdeen, as she is repeatedly dropped on an island and forced into a “last person standing” fight to the death with 23 other participants.

The Hunger Games is a grim but exciting story, and although it is bloody, it can teach us a lot about team building.

Here are six team building lessons The Hunger Games can teach us.

1. You don’t have to be happy to be a good team player

In The Hunger Games, Katniss says: “It’s not as if I’m never friendly. Okay, maybe I don’t go around loving everybody I meet, maybe my smiles are hard to come by, but I do care for people.”

If you are forcing your team members to smile, laugh, and ask everybody how their day is, then you might be missing the point. Forcing smiles is not the point of team building.

Sure, it always feels nice when people around you are happy and smiley. But forcing this behaviour on them is not going to make them better collaborators. Being bubbly and gushy is not a vital trait of a good team player. Some people are a bit more reserved with their emotions – it doesn’t mean they are bad at working with others.

2. Don’t be afraid of aiming for a goal nobody has ever achieved before

The first 73 Hunger Games saw only one contestant make it out alive. But in the 74th Hunger Games, something remarkable happened. There were two winners!

This was remarkable because it wasn’t meant to happen. It wasn’t in the rules. Based on historical evidence, it was impossible. But just because something has never been achieved, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for it!

If inventors stopped inventing new products simply because they’d never been invented before, then we’d never have any new products.

Encourage your team to think outside the box, and aim for goals that have never been reached.

3. Don’t force everybody to use the same tools

Different people have different strengths. This is a big part of team building. You see, teamwork is not about making sure everybody completes precisely equal portions of the same task. It’s about making sure everybody applies their own unique skills in the most effective areas!

In The Hunger Games, for example, Katniss applied her skills as a hunter and chose a bow and arrow as her weapon of choice. Finnick, on the other hand, applied his skills as a fisherman and built himself a net as his weapon.

4. Don’t let the end goal get in the way of smaller wins

If all participants in The Hunger Games sat around dreaming of winning and making it out alive, they would be dead pretty fast. The people who survived the longest took more of a “one step at a time” mentality.

In a teamwork setting, this is also important. When working on team building, remind your team that although it pays to aim for a bigger overall goal, they also need to pay attention to the smaller wins along the way.

5. Put on a unified front

When working as a team, it is important to recognise diversity and cater for each person’s individual skills and abilities. However, it is also important that your team works towards a unified goal with a unified front.

In The Hunger Games, Cinna made sure that Katniss and Peeta wore wonderful matching outfits before battle. This inspired morale, and boosted their reputation, which ultimately helped them win.

6. Lead by example

The most important part of effective team building is probably setting a good example.

Katniss shows the importance of this, by getting out there and giving it everything she has – even in the face of danger. This inspires her allies to become stronger and do the same.

I guess the key point here is that you shouldn’t expect somebody else to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.

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