6 Thrilling, Chilling Team Building Lessons from Horror Movies

Tips for Being a Killer Colleague

As the strangest October in living memory shambles closer, many have started figuring out what their Halloween might look like. Friends are planning socially distanced costume parties. Corporate and private groups have started booking our two new virtual Halloween games, Virtually Haunted: The Online Halloween Scavenger Hunt and the Halloween Trivia Slam Game. And plenty of people are planning their Halloween movie marathons.

Surprisingly, you can learn a lot about being a team player and good co-worker from horror movies. Here are 6 valuable team building lessons from horror movies.

Preparation Is Everything

Gas station in the middle of nowhere

Roughly 90 percent of the problems in horror movies could be avoided if everyone on the team coordinates and goes into a situation prepared. Charge your cell phones. Own a spare tire. Google “mysterious deaths, disappearances, and/or urban legends” in the area before you book that cabin in the woods. Plan your route so you don’t need to stop in the middle of nowhere to ask creepy people at skeevy gas stations for directions.

Just like those careless teens, your projects will die horrible, avoidable deaths if your team doesn’t put in the prep work beforehand. Gear up, do your research, make sure everyone is clear about their goals and confident they can meet them, know the pitfalls to avoid, and you’ll live to earn the boss’s kudos.

Don’t Go It Alone

You see it all the time in horror movies. A girl chooses the middle of the night to go swimming…alone. A guy investigates that noise coming from the attic…by himself. Or, worst of all, someone leaves the group for whatever reason but promises, “I’ll be right back!” That’s when Jason or Ghostface gets them, one by one.

Never go it alone when you can rely on your team instead. Especially in these scary times, reach out to your colleagues for a helping hand or a sounding board. Leverage video conferencing to keep teamwork flowing.

Keep It Diverse

While you build that team, do your best to form a diverse group with a wealth of experiences and expertise. Find colleagues who can lead and follow, who have skillsets that complement your own, and who can fight claw-handed maniacs in their dreams. In horror movies and in real life, your differences will be your strengths.

One caveat: If somehow you find yourself in a team with a nerd, a nice girl, a jock, a stoner, and a party girl, maybe stick close to the nice girl. She tends to live through the movie.

Communication Is Key

Co-workers talking

Good co-workers look out for each other and let someone know (constructively, of course) when they notice a flaw in their plan or project. For example, one of your team members says, “I think I’m going to attend a wild party at a lakeside camp, goof around with a Ouija board, and then explore an abandoned amusement park.” It is your responsibility as a good colleague to say, “That’s really not a great idea, Connie.” 

Don’t Bring Down Your Group

You know the type. It’s the person who cracks under the pressure and runs screaming for help, drawing the monster’s attention. It’s the one who doesn’t take the situation seriously enough and ends up making a fatal mistake. Or it’s the guy who hides his zombie bite until it’s too late and he starts chomping on his friends’ brains.

In the office, virtual or otherwise, one bad attitude can doom a project or infect the whole group. Don’t be that person. And if you recognize the signs in a colleague, try to reach out to them and see what you can do to help.

Finish What You Start

Team high-fiving

OK, so you’re being chased by a masked lunatic. Through a combination of guts, luck, and the fact that you’re 80 minutes into a 90-minute horror movie, you manage to turn the tables, whack him with his own machete, watch him fall over dead. Job well done, right?

Wrong! Everyone knows you don’t stop there. You don’t heave a sigh of relief, turn your back on the killer, and limp away. You keep whacking him with that machete. You make sure he is well and truly dead, gone, done-zo. It might take a while, but it’s worth it.

Seriously, it isn’t over until it’s over. Whatever project you tackle, no matter the size or importance, you and your team need to see it through to the end before you celebrate a job well done.

~

Photo credits: Lead photo by Justin Campbell on Unsplash; Gas station photo by Laurel and Michael Evans on Unsplash; Man and woman talking photo by Jopwell from Pexels; high five Photo by fauxels from Pexels