Creating Cohesive Teams Not Blind Obedience | #leadership #teamwork

Creating cohesive teams starts with an understanding that team cohesion doesn’t mean everyone being the same and following orders. In business, cohesive teams are diverse and empowered. They combine individual talents with differing ideas to produce the best results. Yet, there are leaders who confuse cohesion with obedience and adherence to rules. This causes them trouble as they try to lead team members from multiple generations and diverse backgrounds. Instead, break out of this old belief and use the following steps when creating cohesive teams.

Creating Cohesive Teams: Image is diverse team members.

Creating Cohesive Teams Not Blind Obedience. Image by First Energy Corp. via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by First Energy via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Creating Cohesive Teams Not Obedient Ones

Leaders and managers, when building teams start with a moving picture in your mind of what you want teammates to work as a team. Do you see yourself giving orders and them complying? Or do you picture knowledgeable empowered team members closing the gaps and working through challenges together? In most workplaces today, it’s the second picture not the first. OK. So you have an image of a cohesive team. Now, consider the key steps in creating cohesive teams.

Steps to Unifying Diverse Ideas

Cohesion is the action to create a united whole (according to Oxford dictionary.) Remember, however, that uniting doesn’t mean being the same and everyone thinking the same. People pulling together (i.e. unifying) to reach the end results includes collaborating, communicating, and even disagreeing along the way. It’s not a mistake.

    Steps in Creating Cohesive Teams

  1. Allow time for team members to get to know each other. It’s not a waste of time. People who know each other can resolve differences without tearing the team apart. This is part of team cohesion.

  2. Communicate goals clearly. And then allow for discussion. As leaders and managers, you want everyone to really understand where you’re all going and why. Empower the team with knowledge and discussion. It reduces logjams as they proceed.

  3. Involve the team in creating teammate expectations. One of the most effective steps in creating cohesive teams is having the team members come up with the list of “effective team member” behaviors.

  4. Have the team discuss and outline how to address non-team member behavior. Whether it’s frequently showing up late, dominating discussions, or other behaviors, how will the team address it? Are there times that you as leaders and managers will need to do it? Without this, creating cohesive teams will be difficult.

  5. Discuss How to Interact With Leaders & Managers

  6. What should the teams do if you as leaders and managers get in the way? For example, if you fall into ordering people around instead of empowering them, what should team members do? Or if you forget to communicate important information? It affects team unity if some speak up about it and others want them to say nothing.

  7. How should they alert you if they think you are playing favorites? When some team members think that you are favoring others, it can destroy team cohesion.

  8. What can they say to you if you are promoting sameness instead of unity? For example, if you snap at team members who disagree with you or the team, how should they tell you that you are limiting discussion?

  9. Keeping Cohesion Going!

  10. Encourage and support celebration. Most leaders and teams celebrate a win at the end. Yet long projects have ups and downs and celebrating progress along the way does a lot for team cohesion.

  11. Applaud resilience and creativity. When the tough times come, would you likely focus on the struggle? Or encourage and applaud team members to, as change coach Alli Polin says, find creative alternatives to keep going? Your attitude and actions in these moments support team unity.

  12. Onboard new team members with more than a simple introduction. When new team members join an existing team, have a meeting for everyone to welcome them and share how the team interacts etc… It not only reduces the anxiety of new teammates but sustains team cohesion and productivity. Don’t make new team members prove that they are worthy of a welcome!

Summary for Creating Cohesive Teams

Team cohesion comes from people feeling respected and being inspired to work through mess and struggles to reach a shared success. Don’t expect obedience and absolute harmony along the way. Use the ten steps noted above to help them reach success.

What team member experience(s) do you remember the most? Why?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
5 Questions to Build or Revive Team Commitment
How to Create Positive Teamwork w/ Pessimistic Complaining Teammates
8 Ways to Keep Team Morale & Cohesion High Amid Failure
Team Leaders & Managers, Do You Stop Team Bullies?

©2021 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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