A few days ago we told you about the factors that help turning a group into a cohesive team. Today, we deal with the complete opposite: the enemies of cohesion.
Investing efforts in achieving cohesion is as important as overcoming the obstacles that prevent us from attaining it.
Factors that hinder cohesion
You must pay close attention to detecting any of those factors, as they can ruin all attempts at achieving that desired cohesion. In broad strokes we can summarize them in:
AKA the ‘elbowing culture’. It will be one of the main ‘stones in your shoe’. It may happen due to an error in the leader’s focus, but it can also be the result of a worker’s attitude. Here are some tips concerning the leader:
- If you have to delegate more to one collaborator than to others, try to explain the reasons to the whole team in order to avoid misunderstandings.Make it clear to the worker you entrust that function with that they are still part of the team, and how important are both their role and the work of their colleagues.
- Pay special attention to recognition (the ‘pats on the back’).If you must recognize the work of a few, better do it in private.If you prefer to do it in public, do not forget to also value the involvement and collaboration of the rest of the team.
- Do not promote competitivenessamongst members ofyour team. Some claim that competitiveness promotes productivity, but the risks may be greater than the benefits.
Confusion or disagreement
It may happen that, either due to lack of communication or because the latter is unclear, the goals, rules or roles within the team have not been sufficiently clear, are interpretable or are likely to generate disagreement among its members. In order to avoid that, the solution resides in communication, communication, and communication.
Timely, clear and accessible communication will save you many problems. Try to explain the different roles within the team, as well as its goals and operation rules. Also, determine the channels through which its members will be able to convey their doubts to their managers or leaders. Today’s technology offers many possibilities, but do not forget that human contact – good old face to face – favors a warmer and less interpretable communication. Meet periodically with your collaborators to transmit, but also to listen. Set aside time for meetings so that they are the ones who speak while you take notes.
Conflicts, confrontations, and incompatibility
We must not forget that our team is made up of people and their ‘backpacks’. We all have a character, a history, and our hangups,…
There may be incompatible people in your team. If all of them are necessary and offer added value, you should ask yourself if you can make changes that minimize confrontation between those people (different phases or tasks that are not directly related).
You can also encounter clashes between collaborators, between team leaders or even between employees and leaders. In these cases, you should investigate the reasons behind those confrontations and try to get the waters back to their course. Do not forget that, no matter how much you value your team, you may have end up using some discipline.
Finally, another element that can put the cohesion in your team at risk is excessive mobility or staff rotation. Think of cohesion as a crop: you must plow, sow and, finally, harvest. If it turns out that your staff leaves during one of these phases, your crop will be permanently in the germination phase.
Cohesion is far from impossible, but you should invest more efforts and establish mechanisms that facilitate and, in some way, accelerate the process. Here are some potentially useful tools:
- Createand keep updateda welcome manual for newcomers.
- Host reception sessionsin which you can transmit the values of the team.
- Introduce new staff members to the entire team(organize a specific meeting, if possible).
- Assign a trainer-tutor to each newcomer.This companion will transmit the basics of the team’s operation rules.
And so our take on the enemies on cohesion ends.
If you want us to supply more information, if you wish to suggest a topic for future posts, or if you want to tell us about your experiences, please do leave us a comment.