Teamwork in the Upside Down: 6 Top Team Building Lessons from ‘Stranger Things’

Teamwork is Key in Hawkins

With the recent conclusion of season four, Netflix’s original series Stranger Things is stranger, scarier, and more popular than ever. Mostly centered on a group of ’80s kids who fight the otherworldly evils of the Upside Down in Hawkins, Indiana, the show pits both its ordinary and super-powered protagonists against horrifying creatures and their murderous, tentacular boss, Vecna.

So how do a bunch of mostly normal kids take on government conspiracies and otherworldly terrors? Teamwork! You can learn a surprising amount from these scrappy youngsters. Here are our six top Stranger Things 4 team building lessons.

Warning: the rest of this post will contain some spoilers for the latest season of Stranger Things.

Stranger Things 4 team building lessons


From Dustin’s walkie talkies to glowy lights in the Upside Down, the Stranger Things kids are always finding ways to communicate. When Eleven needs to save the day in Hawkins, Indiana, but she’s stuck out in the middle of a desert, she and her friends find a way to help her bridge that gap. Heck, even Sheriff Hopper finds a way to get a message out from behind the Iron Curtain. Hopefully you and your colleagues don’t have to resort to a cardboard box and about 30 Russian postage stamps, but do whatever you have to to stay connected and communicating. Especially these days, with more hybrid and remote workers than ever.

Value Everyone

In season 4, the Stranger Things kids recruit some new members to the team. Eddie Munson is a teen outcast most of Hawkins believes to be a vicious murderer. Argyle is an incredibly, um, relaxed pizza delivery guy who seems to float through life on good vibes. On paper, neither seems to bring much to the table. But their contributions to the team—be it a killer guitar solo or a late-night takeover of a pizza joint—quite literally save the day.

Learn from Your Mistakes

A certain mad scientist returns from what seemed like his demise years ago with another super science project to amp up Eleven’s dormant psychic super powers. Unfortunately, he is just as creepy and controlling and generally awful as ever. Unsurprisingly, everything blows up in his face. No matter the progress he makes, he is doomed to fail again because he remains set in his ways and keeps repeating his past mistakes. Don’t be that person.

Tackle Tasks Head-on

Office team working on project

Be proactive! Does it make sense to let a sadistic tentacle monster from another dimension—or a deadline—come at you on its own terms? Of course not. Get your team in gear on that project now, before some inevitable complication rears its ugly head.

…But Have a Plan First

The Stranger Things kids get into trouble when they attempt to deal with said sadistic tentacle monster without thinking things through in advance. People get hurt. Steve gets chewed on by demonic bat creatures. If your team has an unusually thorny project headed your way, talk it out. Look for likely wrinkles and pitfalls. Make a plan.

Don’t Be Afraid to Improvise

Few projects ever go entirely to plan. That applies whether you’re at your desk, in a Zoom meeting, or in a rickety private plane flying over the Bering Sea to save a beloved character from a Russian gulag. You’ll hit turbulence at some point. Be willing to try something new, or take a big swing. An out-of-the-box idea might sound wild in your head, but your team and your clients might end up loving it. Or at least it might help stop the Demogorgon and Mind Flayer that get loose in that Russian prison.

Find More Fun

Now put your teamwork to the test on our team building scavenger hunts and virtual games. Play all sorts of trivia games, travel the world, tackle a game full of death and puzzles, and more.


Photo credits: ‘Stranger Things’ 4 poster courtesy of Netflix Media Center; Team in conference room photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash; John Martin’s ‘Palace of Yama’ in the public domain