Giving Each Other Freedom AND Holding Each Other Responsible

Giving Each Other Freedom AND Holding Each Other Responsible

As a busy leader, we understand how hard it can be to find the time to develop your team.  This is why each month we provide you with team-building ideas that are easy to deliver and proven to be effective.  Enjoy!

Team-Building Activity

Giving Each Other Freedom AND Holding Each Other Responsible (15 to 30 minutes)

When your team can achieve healthy tension between Giving Each Other Freedom AND Holding Each Other Responsible, they will be able to tap into a culture of full engagement. Here is a map that will allow you to see this tension more clearly:

Screen Shot 2019 12 07 at 11.44.39 AM b

Step 1 – Print out the map or display it on a screen (click here for the file).  Read through all four of the quadrants on the map.

Step 2 – Tell team members that when you say “GO” they need to hold up a number with their fingers between 1 and 10 that shows how well or poorly they feel this tension is being managed in the team (or in the organization) – 1 being very poorly and 10 being effective.   Say “GO” and ask team members to keep their fingers up until everyone can see the range of numbers. Then ask for volunteers to talk about why they chose the number they chose. Start with lower numbers and end with the higher numbers. Assure them that there are no right or wrong answers and it’s healthy to hear diverse perspectives from team members.

Step 3 – Brainstorm with the team ways they can manage this tension more effectively in the season ahead. From this brainstorm, commit to 1 or 2 ideas that the team will commit to moving forward.

Step 4 – End the discussion by reinforcing that Giving Each Other Freedom AND Holding Each Other Responsible is not a problem that the team will ever solve, but instead a tension that they will always need to manage.  Congratulate the team for how well they’ve managed this tension in the past and challenge them to work hard to manage it even better moving forward so they can achieve a culture of full engagement.


Something In Common (5 to 15 minutes)

Before diving into your next staff meeting or company event, this short icebreaker will get your team connecting while generating the positive energy needed to make the meeting a success.

Step 1 – Have a short list of “group types” you want the team to divide into.  Here are some examples:

-Favourite Season

-Movie genre you enjoy the most

-Favourite Cereal

-Best holiday of the year

Or you can just get the team into groups according to a number: groups of 3, groups of 5, etc. depending on the size of your audience

Step 2 – Instruct the team to get into groups according to the group type you give them. For example, you may say, “Get into groups according to the month of your birthday.”

Step 3 – Once they are in their self-selected groups, give them a question to discuss. For example, a favourite book they’ve recently read, a movie they saw in the past month, the best job they ever had, or what they hope to achieve through this meeting/event.

Step 4 – After giving groups enough time to discuss the question you gave them, have them mix into another group type and ask them a new question.  After 2 or 3 rounds, thank the group for participating and move ahead with the meeting agenda.

Not only will your team reap the benefits of getting up and moving around, but they will also build relationships as they get to know each other on another level outside of work!


Tim Arnold is passionate about helping people understand the chronic issues that limit leadership and teamwork, so they can thrive.  He is the author of The Power of Healthy Tension and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can overcome chronic issues and conflicting values.

Tim Arnold

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