7 powerful team-building questions to help you build trust and connections at work

Start improving team dynamics and effectiveness, and access a resource of over 200 icebreaker questions

It’s pretty amazing the things we can accomplish when we come together and apply our unique talents and skills as a team. That’s what gives companies their competitive advantage and how companies succeed. That’s the power of teams and teamwork.

Coming together alone, however, isn’t enough to get the job done. And how do you even get your team to come together if they don’t feel connected to their teammates—if they don’t feel like they belong?

A Harvard Business Review survey found that 39% of respondents felt the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues checked in with them, both personally and professionally. The same article also included research from the Center for Talent Innovation that stated people are more productive, motivated, engaged, and 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential when they feel like they belong.

Is that any surprise?

Relationships, both personal and professional, require conscious effort. At work, just like in our personal lives, we have to build trust with the people around us (our colleagues). Managers have an important role to play, too. A TINYpulse report found that 93% of employees surveyed believe trust in their direct supervisor was the most important factor in workplace satisfaction. In other words, your team members need to get to know you, too.

It’s a leader’s most important responsibility to build trust on a team. Without trust, a team can’t collaborate and can’t achieve their goals.

So let’s prioritize trust and team-building. In this piece, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite team-building questions from Range, why I like them, and how they helped me learn something new about my teammates. But before I do that I want to first make sure we’re both on the same page about why team-build questions, or icebreakers, are so important.

The importance of team-building questions: Making time to grow together as a team

Team-building activities like bringing your team together to make wood-fired pizza or complete a ropes course is a great way to jumpstart or restart team-building, but these activities alone are not how a foundation of trust will be established. Believe it or not, icebreakers—those sometimes awkward questions you remember answering during conference breakout sessions, orientations, and onboardings—can help you and your team make great strides in establishing the connections that underlie great teams.

That’s why the Range team created Icebreaker. It’s a free online tool with over 200 team-building questions designed to build trust, connectedness, and psychological safety. Start one of your next team meetings with Icebreaker and see what you and your team learn about each other.

But we’ve known about the team-building power of icebreaker questions for some time. Daily team-building questions are built into Range, and it’s just about everyone’s favorite part about checking in and sharing an update each day.

These questions are so powerful because they provide team members an opportunity to share small pieces of themselves. (This is how we begin to build trust.) Over time, these pieces begin to paint a more complete picture of the unique individuals around us. And only by better understanding the people we work with can we hope to function as healthy, high-performing teams.

My 7 favorite Icebreaker questions and how they’ve brought me closer to my teammates

So here they are, the icebreakers and team-building questions. The common thread you’ll find running through each of these questions is that they each require a level of introspection. They will ask you and your teammates to share a tiny bit of yourselves you might not have considered sharing before or that you even thought relevant to the team and the work you’re doing. It’s this act of vulnerability that makes answering these seemingly simple questions so powerful.

Let’s start with a couple of easy ones and then increase the difficulty.

Range Icebreaker team-building question #1

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

1. Kids today will never understand the struggle of what?

Range Icebreaker team-building question #2

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

2. What’s the furthest away from home you’ve ever been?

Range Icebreaker team-building question #3

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

3. When looking back at your youth, what was your silliest fear?

Range Icebreaker team-building question #4

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

4. How do you recognize when you’re stressed?

Range Icebreaker team-building question #5

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

5. What is a passion of yours you’ve yet to act on?

Range Icebreaker team-building question #6

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

6. Looking back, what do you admire most about your childhood self?

Range Icebreaker team-building question #7

Answer this Icebreaker question with your team.

7. What’s one misunderstanding that’s happened on your team recently? How was it resolved?

While building trust on a team does require intention, it doesn’t have to mean huge behavioral shifts or expensive team off-sites. Instead, you can do small activities with your team each day that build trust over time.

The right questions can prompt very real and very powerful shifts in the ways we think and the dynamics of our teams. Team-building questions aren’t all about posing deep philosophical questions; they’re about being open and honest. That’s how you get to know your team. Even the silliest questions can help members of your team open up, share more of themselves, and bring everyone closer together.


To start using those 7 team-building questions and over 200 more, check out Icebreaker. And if you’re looking to start prioritizing team- and trust-building, check out what we’re doing at Range.

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