When a team is working well together, they move in tandem like the parts of a well-oiled machine to achieve more than they could individually. They’re a force for productivity and a powerful contributor to the bottom line. But reaping these benefits means planting the seeds of cohesion and growing that spirit of oneness over time.
So how can you encourage a cohesive team? These seven ideas should shed light on how to drive your employees to be the best they can be while working together as a group.
1. Establish a Meaningful Purpose
Teams are lost without a larger goal to work toward because it makes their day-to-day work and even long-term projects seem pointless. Remind them of how the company helps customers overall and how each project supports the mission. This can be a strong motivator to learn how to work together well in order to get the job done right.
2. Plan Team Building Events
There’s no better way to cultivate cohesion than to practice actually being cohesive. A quality team building event will challenge the members to address any problems they’re having as a group through fun activities like games, obstacle courses, or problem-solving exercises. A team building expert can organize the right event to speed up the cohesion process.
3. Work Out Conflicts
It’s easy to ignore conflicts between team members or to simply tell them to “Get over it.” But if you want your team to work together peacefully, these problems must be brought out into the open. Ask the involved parties to have a meeting where each person gets to explain their viewpoint and brainstorm possible solutions. Facing conflicts head-on keeps them from growing into anger or resentment, which significantly impact the ability of your team to perform.
4. Have Fun
Plan a few group outings for your team throughout the year. They can include a night of karaoke, a casual happy hour, or a summer barbecue on a Friday afternoon. Spending time together outside of work encourages coworkers to open up and get to know each other beyond their professional images on a more personal level, improving their work-related interactions and loyalty to the team.
5. Encourage Feedback
This can be done in several ways. Asking about how things are going for the team overall can help you uncover any breakdowns in processes, interpersonal conflicts, or suggestions that can make your operation more efficient. (Seeking this feedback anonymously might result in more honest answers.) During meetings, you can also specifically ask for dissenting opinions on the decisions being discussed. This way you help the team avoid groupthink and conformity.
6. Facilitate Communication
Above all, your team needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Encourage members to communicate with each other in meetings and not just with you. Set up a project management tool that allows everyone to openly discuss tasks and see updates. Not only will your team be more cohesive, but you’ll reduce inbox clutter without all those never-ending email chains.
All of these tips encourage teammates to be respectful, united in their approach, and to open up to each other. With these approaches, your team members will know how to best interact so that they can do their individual jobs well and create positive outcomes for any projects they take on as an effective, cohesive team.