Team Building and the Impact it has on Cohesion in a Socially Diverse OrganisationJason Siddall
South Africa is known for its ethnic diversity and with 11 official languages; the country is a melting pot of cultures. Often referred to as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, South Africa is home to an interesting mix of citizens.
However, all this diversity can lead to cultural clashes. Diversity doesn’t just apply to race and gender. It also embraces political beliefs, age, physical ability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. The biggest challenge with diversity is communication. A communication gap can result in confusion that might lead to conflict when there is not yet a mutual understanding established. One of the greatest communication barriers in South Africa is that not all your staff members have the same native language. This can cause nuances to be missed, and that in turn can cause frustration between people. Some people might also misuse a word outside of their native language, sometimes causing others to take offence.
Body language also differs between different cultures. An example of this is eye contact. In the Western culture, eye contact is seen as polite; but in African cultures making too much eye contact or eye contact for too long, is seen as disrespectful and challenging. We need to learn to understand and be respectful of other cultures.
With diverse teams, team building activities become even more important. It’s a chance for people to connect on a level that goes beyond day to day work interactions, giving them insight into what really makes each person tick. Team building can also help bring people of different cultures together by allowing them to work together towards a common goal. In the work place, employees have to work with a variety of personalities and cultures. A business’ success can often depend on how well staff members are able to work together. Team building activities go a long way to achieving better relationships.
At Drums and Rhythm, we feel that fire dancing is a great team building activity to bring people together. Fire dancing is a group of performance arts or skills that involve the manipulation of fire. Fire dancing typically involves equipment, or other objects, made with one or more wicks; which are designed to sustain a large enough flame to create a visual effect.
How does it work?
- We will provide a fire staff with a burn wick on each end to each delegate.
- Each burn wick is covered with a ribbon sock for practicing.
- Our facilitators will teach your delegates a few basic dance movements like the “Weave” and the “Butterfly”. In both instances, you are required to spin, twirl and handle the staff next to and in front of your body.
- By combining these steps and movements, the group builds a dance routine choreographed by our facilitators.
- When the facilitator is confident that everyone is able and ready, we remove the ribbon socks, dowse each wick in a bowl of paraffin and light the wicks on both ends of the fire staff.
- The team performs the choreographed dance with the staffs burning on either side.
- Each delegate must face their fears, hold their own and trust their colleagues while communicating and performing in synergy.
- Depending on the size of the group, we will split you into smaller groups, each group performing to the other!
- The event ends with the entire company/group performing the sequence together, as a team, co-operating rather than competing against one another.
- At the end of the event, each delegate is motivated and has experienced a sense of achievement.
Fire dancing as a team building activity is hugely beneficial to your socially diverse organisation. It helps people to face their fears together, allowing people to build closer relationship to one another through the shared experience. With fire dancing you need to establish trust with the other participants. This newfound trust will spill over into the work place. Communication is also a key element when trying to co-ordinate a dance involving fire. If the team members can successfully learn to communicate for a dance, they can then start to successfully communicate at work. There are just so many benefits to help bring your team closer together.
About Drums and Rhythm
We at Drums and Rhythm offer a wide range of team building activities using drumming and dancing to facilitate human potential through rhythm.
Barriers like hierarchy, age, gender, and race will be broken. Your work force will be re-charged and individual and team confidence will flow stronger than ever before.