Are team building exercises bad for introverts?

Here’s an interesting discussion from Tech Republic about the value of team building exercises.

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=119

Several self-described nerds wrote in to say that they find the team building exercises that have been designed by extroverts to be truly horrific for introverts. One contributer, who calls herself Server Queen, said

I find that kind of thing very stressful, as I do almost any forced socialization. Any true introvert will find forced socialization draining. That’s the definition of an introvert; a true extrovert finds solitude draining and recharges from doing things in groups.

I’m an introvert at heart but I have forced myself to learn how do to things in extroverted ways because I find it easier to make a living using that mode of expression.

I think that team building exericises can be valuable but only if we as designers put a lot of thought into their development. The hoky “let’s all throw the koosh ball” games are perceived as a waste of time by all but the most extroverted of participants.

I love Thiagi’s games and have used several of them to good effect. But from now on, I’m going to put more thought into whether these games are safe for introverts.

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