What is team cohesion?
For most of us, being a member of a team or group is a major part of our lives. Whether that’s at work, as part of a sports club, arts or social group, or even at home with the family.
And let’s be honest, feeling connected with your ‘team’ makes life a whole lot easier: just think of a world in which the whole family helped with the dishes! Well as it turns out, how much a team connects also affects outcomes such as wellbeing and performance; making it a good place to start for those looking to improve the level of functioning of their team at work.
In organisations, teams are required to be cohesive to be effective and productive in reaching their goals. But what is meant by the term team cohesion and what does it look like in practice? Well, team cohesion refers to the level of interpersonal connectivity within a group of people. Basically, how well do Jack, Janice, and Jazmine work together as a whole?
So let’s say we have a cohesive team, and let’s say it’s called Average Joe’s Gym. Well, this team will have individuals who are confident in their roles, and motivated and committed to the overall shared goals of their group. Then from a cooperative standpoint, they will openly collaborate and support one another. Finally, from a results perspective, they will be goal-oriented, highly functioning, and productive…unlike Global Gym Purple Cobras, who are the opposite of all of this.
Why is it important to have a cohesive team?
Cohesive teams are far more likely to be successful because they have a greater chance of being able to interact and communicate effectively. Cohesion affects the individuals of your team alongside the group as a whole, so we must try and build it. Here are just some of the reasons why it’s so important:
- It increases individual satisfaction.
- Anxiety and competition are perceived positively: just think of Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindsets!
- Each individual has more passion and drive toward the end goal.
- There is an increase in the team’s collective beliefs that they can achieve their goals.
- And finally, it’s been proven to increase performance.
What are we looking for?
For today, the goal isn’t to bombard you with lots of information. Instead, it would be great if you could use this article to measure the baseline levels of cohesion in your team. Once you have an idea of the level of cohesiveness, you can begin to focus on how to develop it further. But don’t worry, we have a whole lot more content on cohesion coming your way!
So for now, here are some of the key indicators if your team is high in cohesion or not:
They socialise outside of work. Now, this can include spending lunch breaks together grabbing a coffee or going for a walk, alongside after-work antics. This is a really important measurement, as research shows that team cohesion has an innately social dimension.
Team members discuss personal matters with each other. Conversations aren’t just confined to work-related matters. Your people will also spend time talking about other things, particularly aspects of their lives that are important to them. They may seek support or comfort from their peers, or feel excited to tell them about an exciting life event.
Individuals keep themselves accountable for their tasks. There is a clear understanding that failing to meet personal goals affects the whole team.
Conflicts are resolved more rapidly. Keep an eye on whether your team can manage and overcome conflict well.
Do you think there is a group goal? This could be something as broad as the organisation’s mission and value. Or, more specifically, a deadline for a current project. If your team appears to be working collectively toward a common goal, that’s a great starting point for developing team cohesion.
Remember, team cohesion is tempora, meaning it will peak and trough with the times. So don’t beat yourself up if your team is currently low. We have more articles covering team cohesion, and these are packed full of information on how you can improve it. For now, use the list above to build an initial profile on the level of your team’s cohesiveness, and then go from there.
How to measure team cohesion with Loopin
We hope you found this guide about team cohesion helpful. Here at Loopin, we’re on a mission to encourage workplaces to create supportive peer-to-peer support networks. Where individuals feel empowered to be open and honest about feelings and emotions. Our tool helps busy managers to understand real-time pain points within their team, to target efforts where it’s most needed.
Want to see Loopin in action? Click here to book a 15-minute demo with one of our team. We'll show you all of the tools and features available to drive positive workplace culture where people feel valued, understood, cared for, and empowered.