This dislike (of team building exercises) has gone back many years, but I think it was exacerbated by a particular event. Once, longer away now than I care to remember, I was a little articled clerk, full of enthusiasm and naivety. On our first or second week, our group of articled clerks was sent on some kind of “leadership” or “team building” exercise. I don’t know what exactly the point of the exercise was, but the end result was appalling. By the end of the week, we had gone from being a friendly bunch to a group with massive schisms, full of suspicion and dislike. It certainly didn’t build a “team” mentality; in fact the very opposite. Luckily, I was a bit older, and I’d already been working full-time for over a year before then, so I didn’t take the whole thing very seriously. I have always just wanted to do my job well and go home. From Legal Eagle's The Legal Soapbox.
The above quote is drawn from a rather nice post by Legal Eagle on her dislike of team building exercises. It links across to a post by Marcel Proust reporting on the extremely sad case of Dr MacKinnon.
To me, LE's post provides a clear cut example of the dangers that can be involved in so-called team building exercises, an approach that has become popular in recent years.
My experience has been that most team building exercises do not work. They can have a place, but only if carefully constructed and controlled.