Sanjay Sehgal, CEO of MSys Technologies, an entrepreneur, startup advisor, keynote speaker and philanthropist.
If you run a team of talented individuals who work together yet don’t trust each other or communicate enough, then you definitely know what a nightmare this situation can be for your organization. Team cohesion is an important business metric that can measure how connected and driven the team members feel toward each other and toward achieving a common goal. Some individuals may take a “lone wolf” approach to their role and love to work alone, while others may flourish best when they are put in a team with members who complement their skills. For diverse and talented people to work together, team cohesion is a must.
Team Cohesion In The Post-Pandemic World
In today’s world, where companies are coming back to the office and working together, building team cohesion and preventing disengagement has become imperative. If employees believe their team lacks alignment, it can negatively affect the work and the organization. Moreover, since the global pandemic, the rate of disengagement has increased due to multiple reasons, including a lack of communication and face-to-face meetings.
Why Should You Focus On Team Cohesion?
Taking the time to build team cohesion can yield many positive effects, such as fostering a positive work environment and ensuring better communication within the team. This provides more chances to accomplish team and company goals, which eliminates the need for micromanagement and frees up managers to focus on more important work. By strengthening team cohesion, teams can work more effectively and efficiently, and members perform better, thanks to increased job satisfaction.
Signs Of Strong Team Cohesion
Teams with strong cohesion demonstrate several key qualities.
• They are quick to resolve any conflict that arises in the project or organization.
• They tend to be more united and strong.
• They are high-performing, which reinforces team member accountability.
• They foster a high level of trust.
• They provide more support and focus on organizational priorities.
Key Strategies To Build Team Cohesion
If you are trying to build team cohesion, here are six key strategies to consider.
1. Let People Work For People
Prioritize forging emotional connections within teams to enhance team cohesion. A collaborative team where each member complements each other’s skills is an asset for any company. Forging personal connections between team members reinforces a sense of shared community and that they are working for people, not for a company. Ensure that organizational leadership is trained and equipped to lead with emotional intelligence in order to develop and support this structure of inter-team connection.
2. Encourage Communication
One of the most important characteristics of team cohesion is great communication. Communication within the team helps the voices of each team member be heard. As a result, it builds trust and helps the members bond stronger so that they can face any challenges. As a manager or leader, your job is to ensure that the team has the right resources to communicate. Implement and maintain good communication practices, and be sure to introduce multiple communication channels. If you are managing a global team, invest in an online messaging platform, remote team meeting software and task management tools that will further enhance distributed collaboration efforts.
3. Create Structured Goals
When you are taking a goal-oriented approach to success, it is important to ensure that your goals are well-structured and comprehensive for the entire team. While goals may be longer-term in scope at the wider organizational level, at the team level, the focus should be on short-term goals, team goals and individual goals. A goal structure will help the team members understand their roles and achieve these goals easily. For example, you can introduce a goal pyramid that will help team members realize their individual goals and how that will collectively help them achieve their organizational goals.
4. Provide Upskilling And Training
If you want your team to be cohesive and collaborative, introduce programs that will help them with training and upskilling. Ongoing learning and personal development opportunities for team members will help them boost their confidence and provide motivation to perform better.
5. Resolve Conflict As A Group
Team cohesion does not ensure that there will be no conflicts. However, a cohesive team is more effective at solving a conflict as a group. Instead of providing instructions to solve the conflict, offer resources and empower the team by letting them determine the most effective way to resolve it quickly. Instead of treating conflicts as roadblocks, approach them as opportunities to solve problems and build trust.
6. Cultivate Harmony Within Your Teams
As a leader, you may be faced with situations where team members struggle to perform in a team setting, which can weaken the team’s ability to thrive. Perhaps their work ethics don’t align with your cohesion efforts or the team’s collaborative values. In such cases, it is your responsibility to identify the root of the issue and make room for more competent team members in your organization to flourish.
When it comes to building stronger teams and cultivating success, hiring the right people is not always enough. In order to achieve your organizational targets, team members need to collectively work together to achieve the vision of the business. To do this work requires a lot of trust and great interpersonal relationships within teams. By planting the seeds for team cohesiveness, you can provide team members with the environment they need to grow and thrive.
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