How Team Cohesion Reduces Stress and Increases Productivity
Anyone can put together a team. Taking the time to find people who fit your needs and bringing them together is a straightforward process. That said, businesses need a cohesive team if they want to be successful. And creating one of these is a bit more challenging.
We’ll guide you through how to inspire true teamwork and unity in your team. But first, what is team cohesion exactly?
What Is Team Cohesion?
Corporate Finance Institute gives a great definition of team cohesion:
Team cohesion is the strength and extent of interpersonal connection existing among the members of a group. It is this interpersonal bond that causes members to participate readily and remain motivated to accomplish the set goals.
A cohesive team happens when members genuinely bond with and respect one another. And with those bonds and respect at the forefront, they lean on each other to complete projects and pursue common goals.
Team cohesion seems like a no-brainer. But unfortunately, many leaders neglect to make it a priority. A study from Deloitte on digital collaboration revealed that only 9% of the individuals surveyed felt their place of employment had very effective sharing and collaboration tools and systems.
Here’s Why It Matters
Team cohesion is critical for two major reasons. The first is that it reduces employee stress.
Work-related stress can do a number on an employee’s health. Frequent headaches, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty concentrating, teeth grinding, sleep deprivation, and stomach issues can result from prolonged stress. In addition, when an employee is stressed out, it impacts their performance.
When workers are part of a cohesive team, it takes a lot of pressure off everyone’s shoulders. Each person knows they can lean on the other for support. You can spread the workload evenly across team members and make the environment way less stressful.
Team cohesion increases productivity too. Think about a team’s workflow. If one employee doesn’t get along with the rest of the team, it affects how everyone works together. That employee may not feel comfortable coming to their coworkers for help with something.
This could lead to preventable mistakes that prolong a project’s timeline. Or the employee may not sign off on something promptly because they put off communicating with the team members they have issues with, and that slows down the workflow.
On the other hand, think about how much more productive a team that loves working together is. Communication is seamless. Team members jump in wherever they’re needed. And everyone does their part to ensure goals are achieved.
Especially in the era of remote work, team cohesion is vital for less-stressed employees and increased productivity.
Creating a Cohesive Team Is All Effort and Intention
Creating a cohesive team is an ongoing project. A serious effort and a lot of intention are necessary to make it happen. But leaders can do it with the following tips.
Hire for the team
So many leaders hire people based on the skills they have or if they can do what’s needed to elevate specific business results. They don’t take the time to analyze whether a person fits the team they already have.
As a result, they hire individuals who can get the job done but don’t get along with the team. This disrupts cohesion, and productivity and performance start to decline because of it.
You definitely want to hire people who can get the job done and have the skills you’re looking for. But hiring for team fit is just as critical. Get to know an applicant and make notes about their personality. Would it fit in with the personalities you already have on your team? Would this person get along with everyone and vice versa?
It’s also a good idea to bring a current team member to interviews with you. They can give their honest opinion about whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the team.
Get to know each individual
Once you form your team, it’s imperative to get to know each person on it. Genuinely understanding a person’s life, behaviors, experiences, and perspective is crucial in setting up a positive work experience for them.
It also helps them trust you as a leader. When an employee trusts you, they’re more willing to come to you when they’re having issues with a team member or with ideas to improve team cohesion. You can use this information to better the way your team works together.
Use regular one-on-one meetings to grow individual relationships with each person on your team. You can talk about less formal things in these meetings, like what’s going on in their personal life. You should also talk about work and what their experience is with the team so far.
Connect with your team often to ensure you’re developing real relationships with each person.
Facilitate group and partner work often
Facilitating group and partner work regularly is a must for team cohesion. The only way people will get to know each other and learn to work together cohesively is to put them in positions where they have to do these things.
For example, if you have two people on your team that don’t interact much with each other, pair them up to work on a lengthy project together.
During this time they can get to know each other. They’ll need to communicate and collaborate to get the project done quickly and to the highest quality. Once the project is finished, their relationship and ability to work together will be stronger, enhancing team cohesion.
Plan out group projects for your team. Put together pair projects as well. And don’t forget about team-building activities like volunteer work and company retreats. Whatever you can do to facilitate connection among team members, do it.
Team cohesion is imperative for reducing work-related stress and increasing team and individual productivity. Start with the three tips above to create a cohesive team you can be proud of.