Do you feel that your team is not functioning as a cohesive unit? Have you noticed a difference in team performance due to this singular factor? Achieving group cohesion is not something that happens overnight. It requires effort and cognizance to identify where cohesion is lacking and move toward a team mindset.
Let us offer you a detailed look into the elements of group cohesion, its benefits for your team, and effective methods for cultivating group cohesion for your team.
What Is Group Cohesion?
Group cohesion occurs when members of the team work together as one, advancing toward a mutual goal. When a team achieves group cohesion, they feel as though they have become part of one entity rather than a mass of people struggling in different directions while trying to reach the same end.
Group cohesion is imperative because it builds trust, fosters mutual respect, and sets the stage to develop productive human interaction. A team is more productive and driven to succeed when working as a cohesive unit.
This is not only because its members are combining efforts but because the resulting mindset is healthier and more constructive. Group cohesion encourages relationship building, resulting in happier, more satisfied team members.
When a team displays group cohesion, performance is enhanced. Cohesion also fosters an environment that can better absorb and implement feedback to achieve team goals. Quite a few studies have found that teams practicing group cohesion achieve performance goals above and beyond those who operate separately from one another.
To break down group cohesion further, it is essential to understand the components that make for a connected team unit. The first component of group cohesion is to have a common interest or goal. To function as a cohesive entity, members must share the same regard for their team formation and the goals of their team.
Another key component of cohesion is team pride. When all members feel the same pride in their team, they work together to make their team the best it can be. This enhances overall performance and inspires further teamwork to achieve the same successes.
A final important element of group cohesion is commitment. Each member of the team needs to have an equal interest and obligation to serve the needs of the team. Being committed means that every member stays actively participated in achieving the goals of the entire unit. If every member is not fully committed to the vision of the team, they will undermine the unit and performance will suffer because of it.
Why It Matters
Why is cohesion so important? It optimizes team performance. Team performance depends on the actions of every member working together toward a common goal. Without this connected mindset, it is impossible to achieve maximum performance.
On a separate note, cohesion is crucial because it brings an invaluable sense of satisfaction to each on the team. When you have a group of individuals working together as one and reaching their performance goals, a sense of pride and satisfaction ensues. This not only elevates overall team spirit but makes each member want to work harder and do better, furthering the cycle of cohesiveness.
One hallmark of human nature is the desire to make connections with other human beings. A lack of cohesiveness makes it difficult to foster these connections, which brings down team morale. Seeking to attain a sense of connectedness in the team is not only better from a logistical standpoint, but from an emotional one as well.
Finally, group cohesion matters because it helps team members share the burden without becoming burned out. Working together as a unit means heightened productivity, but it also means it divides the workload.
This increases the longevity of team members, and it also helps ensure the attainment of both individual and collective goals. With cohesion, more people work together towards a single outcome rather than a mass of individuals pitted against each other, struggling to move in the same direction.
Benefits of Cohesion for Your Team
It Increases Motivation
The first huge advantage of group cohesion for your team is that it increases motivation. When members work together towards a common goal and achieve it more effectively than if they had functioned separately, this motivates them to succeed again and again. Plus, the heightened morale that ensues is a huge motivation booster.
It Improves Cooperation
Along the same lines, cohesion improves overall cooperation for the team. Why is this? Well, once a team works together and sees the effect on their performance, it spurs them onward to continue to cooperate as a unit.
Cohesion fosters an environment of collaboration. It will inspire the team to share ideas and strategies to improve performance and attain their goals.
It Saves Time
When your team is more motivated and cooperating well with one another, this will ultimately save significant time. So much time is wasted when team members are working on their own on opposing sides of the field.
If an obstruction to a team goal arises, a few people might come up with a solution much faster than one might. This saves considerable time in the long run and ensures that they will reach a better, more productive solution.
It Enhances Communication
When a group achieves cohesiveness, it enhances its communication. It is hard to communicate well when all team members are functioning in their respective corners separate from one another. Cohesion obligates a team to work together to succeed, instigating productive communication habits.
Methods for Cultivating Group Cohesion
Set Clear Goals
What are ways your team can work on cultivating group cohesion? The first method is to set clear goals. When you are choosing members for your team and working on building the team, you need to have a clear mission in mind.
Once clear goals and the way to reach them are established, you can choose team members who will fit into that vision the best. If you already have a team in place that lacks cohesion, work on spelling out the goals of the organization so that everyone knows the part they play in achieving that end.
Focus on Diversity
Another thing to remember when cultivating group cohesion is to focus on diversity. A team cannot be cohesive if every member is the same. The team needs to comprise individuals with different skill sets, knowledge, and experience, who can pool their expertise to achieve the same goal.
A great way to cultivate cohesion on your team is by practicing team-building. Short exercises to practice team-building are an excellent method to assess how members work with one another to achieve the team’s mission.
If there is an important task ahead, do a team-building exercise to see how members will approach it. This will make it far easier to map out an effective game plan.
Team-building exercises reveal the individuals who work well with each other, those who go off on their own, and those who take the lead. They are also a great way to build relationships and instigate bonding between team members.
Capitalize on the Strengths of Your Team Members
An effective method to build group cohesion is to capitalize on the strengths of your team members. Each member should operate in a capacity that caters to their greatest strengths.
They should not be assigned a task for which they are not prepared as this is neither fair to them nor the rest of the team. If members can use their strengths to achieve the team mission, these abilities will complement each other to attain the overarching goal.
Communication Is Key
Your team cannot achieve cohesion without maintaining open lines of communication. If the team does not communicate well, all other methods to reach coherence will be ineffective. Spell out the goals of the team and make sure each member knows where their responsibilities lie.
You can also cultivate group cohesion on your team by encouraging feedback. Before, during, and after they achieve a goal, it is important to offer feedback to your team. You should provide feedback both one-on-one and to the entire group.
This is a great opportunity to identify strategies that worked, ones which fell short and discuss the overall outcome of the mission. Feedback will help your team work together better next time and understand where improvements need to be made.
Finally, if you want to cultivate group cohesion on your team, you need to applaud success. When the team reaches its goals together, acknowledgment and praise of that success are essential.
Members need to know their efforts have not gone unnoticed. This boosts team morale and makes each member want to do even better next time.
To build team cohesion, start by assessing the overall goals and vision of the team. Make sure that each member fits into that mission and lay out a plan of action accordingly. Then, you can assess which methods for attaining group cohesion are most effective and will reap the results you desire for your team.