How to Build a Cohesive Team: 4 Tips for Success

All of us have been a part of a team at some point in our lives, whether it be high school sports or work. Teamwork can be incredibly rewarding, or it can be immensely frustrating. If your team can’t get along, argues, and can’t agree, you’re going to have a hard time. But if your team works together, supports each other, and works towards a common goal, you can achieve things you couldn’t alone. This is called team cohesion. 

If you have a cohesive team, nearly anything is possible. Your teams will be more motivated, less stressed, happier, and increased work satisfaction. Knowing how to build a cohesive team is an essential skill for anyone involved in teamwork. However, building a cohesive team can be a challenge. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about building a cohesive team. From the basics of team cohesion to key tips for success, you’ll get all the information you need to build a cohesive team that is ready for anything.

What is Team Cohesion?

There is no single concrete answer to the question of what is team cohesion, but at its core, team cohesion is how well the members of a team work together and collaborate. It involves many factors, such as interpersonal relationships, having common goals, how committed they are to the group, etc. When all of these aspects come together, you have a cohesive team that is ready to achieve their goals. 

An easy way to visualize a cohesive team is via sports. Think about your favorite sports team when they are doing well. All of the players are serving a specific role, giving it their all to support their team and achieve their goals. When the team is cohesive, they seemingly work together as a single organism and do incredible things on the field. 

The same goes for teams at work (or anywhere else). When you have cohesion in a team, your team will be doing their best work. They will be supporting each other to achieve their common goals. This is a huge benefit of having a cohesive team. However, there are many more benefits to having a cohesive team. Before moving on to how to build a cohesive team, let’s focus on some of those benefits. 

Benefits of a Cohesive Team

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest benefits of a cohesive team is increased performance. When you work together effectively, you can do more than you could alone. According to Zippia, increased teamwork and collaboration can boost sales by 27% and customer satisfaction by 41%. Those are huge benefits that can help your bottom line.

Another benefit is increased productivity. Teams that are cohesive are more happy with their work, and that directly leads to increased productivity. According to research done by the Social Market Foundation, happy workers are up to 20% more productive than unhappy workers. That is a huge difference in productivity that you don’t want to miss out on. 

There are other benefits to team cohesion as well, such as increased retention and better morale. Whether you personally like working in a team or not, it’s clear that there are numerous benefits to team cohesion. So, how do you build a cohesive team?

4 Tips for Building Cohesion in a Team

Next up, let’s go over 5 key tips for building cohesion in a team. Team cohesion can be challenging to build, but these tips should help you better your teamwork and become more cohesive. 

Communication

Communication is the foundation of any cohesive team. Without communication, you cannot have team cohesion. You and your team members need to be able to communicate freely, without worrying about having ideas shot down or being made fun of. 

Being able to communicate freely facilitates multiple aspects of team cohesion. For example, communication is necessary to build strong relationships with your team members. You need to talk with your teammates, learn about each other, find out their strengths and weaknesses, etc. You also need communication to effectively come up with common goals and work together towards them.

Effective communication is also beneficial in its own right, independent of teamwork. Research from McKinsey found that better internal communications can lead to a 25% increase in productivity, a huge benefit that can come just from communication. However, there can be challenges to communication. Let’s quickly look at a few of them and how to overcome them. 

Challenges of Communication

A very common challenge to communication at work is the internal communication structure. If there is no clear way to communicate with people internally, it can be difficult to have necessary conversations. Things get messy when people are trying to communicate via many different platforms and methods. Having a clear communication structure for everyone to follow can help deal with this challenge. 

Another frequent challenge involves how people respond to others. It’s easy to be dismissive of others’ ideas, especially when you are stressed or burnt out at work. However, constructive feedback and kindness are essential to effective communication. Your team members should be listening to each others’ ideas and helping make them better. 

One last challenge we’ll mention is cultural differences. Though it may not seem like a big deal, cultural differences can hinder communication. Small cultural differences can slowly chip away at communication without you even realizing it. To get ahead, make it a point to have your team members’ learn about each other and their cultures. Understanding the cultural differences makes it much easier to work around them and address them. 

Chain Reaction Table Top with TeamBonding and Catalyst

Setting Common Goals

Another key part of what makes a cohesive team is having common goals. Goals are what brings your team together and unites them around the same cause. Having realistic, achievable goals that everyone is striving towards together will make your team more cohesive. It can also help boost morale, better relationships amongst team members, and increase productivity. 

However, setting goals isn’t always simple. Your goals have to be realistic and achievable, as well as something everyone can agree on. Knowing how to set those goals is a key part of building a cohesive team. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, using the SMART goals method is a good idea. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound. These criteria will help you ensure that the goals you choose are realistic, relevant, and achievable for your team. With good common goals, your team is on the path to cohesion.

Accountability, Trust, and Respect

Accountability, trust, and respect are also all key parts of building a cohesive team. Your team members need to feel like they can trust and respect each other, as well as their leaders/management. Accountability is one of the key ways to build that trust and respect. 

When team members hold each other accountable, they are building trust and respect amongst each other. They know that their team members are holding themselves to the same standards and that everyone is in it together, working towards the same goals. The same goes for management, as holding themselves accountable also shows trust and respect for their teams. 

Communication is a key aspect of this as well. You and your teams need to be communicating about success and failures, learning more about each other, etc. This all helps build trust, respect and accountability, all of which will help with team cohesion. 

Team Building Techniques

Lastly, team building techniques and activities are a core part of building team cohesion. Team building activities focus on developing the skills required for cohesive collaboration, as well the interpersonal relationships that are key to an effective team. 

There are tons of different team building activities that focus on different aspects of teamwork and collaboration. This can help you focus on specific aspects of your team that may need improvement. They also come in all different shapes and sizes, like virtual events or in-person activities, giving you plenty of flexibility.

For example, our Atmosphere exercise utilizes a fun and exciting puzzle to focus on teamwork, thinking outside the box, and working under a tight deadline. If your team is struggling with time management and strategic planning, the Chain Reaction event is a great choice. iBuild is a perfect choice for teams that need to focus on communication and collaboration. 

Use events and techniques like these boost the aspects of your team needing improvement. Whether it’s communication, setting goals, working together, or something else, these activities can help you focus on and improve your team cohesion.  

how to build a cohesive team

Overcoming Challenges to Team Cohesion

Even with all those tips and strategies to improve your team cohesion, there are still challenges that you may need to overcome. Even in the best teams, you can still run into issues such as personality clashes and disruptive behaviors. Thankfully, overcoming these isn’t too difficult. 

The key to beating these challenges is being proactive and communicating effectively. You need to be able to identify and address problem behaviors like being overly negative or gossiping before they become serious issues. Then, you need to communicate with those employees to address those behaviors. 

Providing feedback and implementing solutions are key. Don’t just scold an employee for gossiping or being negative; give them constructive feedback that suits them, and implement strategies to change that behavior in the future. 

Another challenge are employees who don’t want to engage or be involved. This can be more challenging, but it’s still an issue you can fix. It’s essential to communicate with these employees and find out what’s going on. Often, there are reasons leading to their behavior such as personal issues or conflicts with team members. Identify these reasons and work to address them. 

The other thing you can do is place an emphasis on making sure they’re included. Go out of your way to communicate with them, have them work with others, etc. This can help them get more involved and active at work. Just be careful not to go too far, as this might make things worse depending on the employee and the reason(s) behind their actions. 

Bring Your Team Together

Building a cohesive team is a must for businesses that rely on teamwork and collaboration. Cohesive teams are happier, more productive, and more effective. By focusing on communication, common goals, trust, accountability, and team building, you can build a cohesive team that is on the path to success. 

Bring your team together with TeamBonding. We have a wide range of events that can help you build a cohesive team while developing their skills. Get in touch with us today and build a better, happier team. 

Anna Webber

Team Contributor

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