CNO Roundtable 2022

Teambuilding Tips and Tricks

Fun and innovative ways to foster group cohesion

Sometimes, effective nursing leadership IS all fun and games. Here are some lighthearted, silly or unusual exercises our CNO panelists have used to foster team-building and group cohesion.

Elizabeth Adams, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center

The “animal game” is a fun activity to help our teams understand each other’s communication styles. Leaders may be lions, lambs, monkeys or tigers, recognizing the toy animal on the other person’s desk reminds us how to communicate effectively with them. Additionally, during our Magnet Recognition, some of our leaders dressed up in Star Wars costumes and danced — it was great! These activities allow us to be vulnerable as leaders, together.


Anita Girard, Cedars-Sinai

I use the True Colors personality profiling system to help teams get to know each other better. This is a simple but fun activity. It never gets old, especially if the person running the activity is well-versed in the color profiling methodology. I have even seen people put their True Colors on their name badges so people know how to address them.

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Katie Hughes, Casa Colina Hospital & Centers for Healthcare

We have a creative group of employees from all disciplines who plan events like pumpkin-carving contests, ice cream days, baking competitions, popcorn days, shamrock hunts and water balloon toss competitions. This really helps to create a sense of community among the staff.


Evelyn Ku, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

Our nursing leaders and director of leadership and organizational development promote team spirit with exercises like “Two Truths, One Lie.” The game is a lot of fun and very well-received by team members. Another fun team-building exercise at our leadership retreat was a spaghetti-and-marshmallow build-a-tower challenge, which provided tons of laughs.

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Joyce Leido, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center

As an icebreaker for leadership team meetings, we often use a web-based game platform called Kahoot! to create fun, competitive trivia questions like “Fun Facts About the Leaders,” “Guess the Leader from Their Baby Picture” and “Random Facts About Sports or Star Wars.” We always have a great laugh as we discover new things about each other and learn which leaders are our trivia experts.


Tanya Osborne-McKenzie, MLK Community Healthcare

I like passing out pennies and then having each person tell a story about what they were doing during the year on each penny. It is fun because you learn something new about your team members (sometimes, that they weren’t even born yet!).

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