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You mean they aren’t just different ways of saying the same thing?

Planning the next set of corporate team building activities for your team? At first glance, many people might not realise that the terms “Team Building” and “Team Bonding” aren’t one and the same thing. We’d even dare to wager that many out there might even be seeing these two terms mentioned in the same breath for the first time here. Well, Team Building and Team Bonding are BOTH very important concepts for nurturing an effective team, and it would do every team leader good to have a sufficient grasp of both concepts, and know how to build on each. So, what’s the difference?


In a nutshell, Team Building refers to any effort towards making your team perform more effectively, with the PRODUCTIVITY of the team as the main focus. Team Building activities generally involve participants working together as a team to achieve a particular objective or to solve a problem. Team Building activities are great for developing your team’s agility, and for enhancing the sense of synergy in working together which may go unnoticed on a daily basis, but is so important for an effective team. Effective Team Building activities include the concept of unique individual roles coming together towards a common goal. An example of a great Team Building activity is Team Music’s BandINC program where teams learn to play real music together as a result of performing their roles well on individual instruments.


Where Team Building focuses on a team’s collective productivity, the concept of Team Bonding focuses on strengthening the RELATIONSHIPS within a team. A Team Building activity could very well achieve elements of Team Bonding as well, but a Team Bonding activity may not necessarily achieve the results intended for a Team Building activity. Team Bonding activities are generally – though not necessarily – simpler than Team Building activities, and could simply involve team members spending time together over karaoke or a day at the movies. One might argue, however, that no Team Building activity could truly be effective without at least some aspect of Team Bonding – a point with which we agree. Besides simply knowing how to work with each other, good relationships within a team are key to enhancing a team’s effectiveness. Nonetheless, Team Bonding activities are generally a greater investment in the relational aspect of a team rather than its business aspect.