No matter how talented an individual is, they will have to work with others in a team. When you have a high-performing team, you will be able to raise the bar in your output and make the whole system more collaborative, productive, and innovative.
Cohesive teams make it easy for organizations to reach their goals. This is especially important in digitally altered landscapes. They also enable companies to attract and retain top talent. That’s why business leaders should focus on how to create a high-performing team.
In this guide, we define team cohesiveness, share signs of strong cohesive teams, and explore ways to improve cohesiveness to create a high-performing team.
What is team cohesiveness?
Team cohesiveness is the ability of a team to successfully work towards pre-determined goals. In cohesive teams, individuals are willing to work with each other and meet their collective objectives. They understand that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
With greater cohesion, organizations create high-performing teams that seamlessly communicate and collaborate both within their teams and with external stakeholders. With clarity on their objectives, tasks, and resources needed to complete tasks, cohesive teams also work faster.
The importance of team cohesiveness
Team cohesiveness is important to organizations for the following reasons:
- Unified efforts: Cohesive teams understand organizational objectives and synchronize their efforts to meet those goals.
- Better communication: Team members would communicate better with each other and understand their specific responsibilities.
- Less micromanagement: When everyone knows what they have to do, managers don’t have to manage all aspects of a project.
- Positive environment: Equitable division of work and better communication means employees will put in their best efforts and cooperate with others.
- Increased efficiency: Cohesiveness improves team efficiency and reduces redundancies and wastage of resources.
- Higher satisfaction: When they meet their goals with reduced friction, team members will be more satisfied with their jobs.
- Improves innovation: In cohesive teams, there will be a greater synergy in the efforts, which leads to creative problem-solving.
Does team cohesiveness come naturally to people?
If you want to create a high-performing team, the first thing to understand is that cohesiveness doesn’t come naturally to most people. There’s no reliable way to measure an individual’s cohesiveness levels while hiring.
An employee could be talented in several spheres but may not know be naturally inclined to be cohesive with others in their team. They shouldn’t be seen as bad team players. In most cases, they may not have understood the importance of cohesiveness or received the right training to improve their skills.
Business leaders and human resources managers should invest in fostering skills and providing the right frameworks to improve team cohesiveness. It should be seen as a core strategic objective of organizations because team cohesiveness can impact a business in multiple ways.
Signs of a cohesive and high-performing team
Organizations with cohesive and high-performing teams share these characteristics:
Quick and easy conflict resolution
Disagreements are bound to rise in any team. But with high cohesiveness, conflicts don’t get in the way of productivity. Team members would know the protocol for resolving conflicts quickly and effectively while giving everyone the right to share their perspectives.
A sense of togetherness
In cohesive teams, individuals know that it’s not a zero-sum game. One person’s gain isn’t another’s loss. They understand the need to support each other and set aside their differences. Unified under a common vision, such teams improve the collective output.
To create a high-performing team, you need individuals who will be responsible for their actions. With team cohesiveness, people would know whether they’re underperforming or missing their goals. Being honest about their efforts, they communicate their weaknesses, which will improve productivity.
A cohesive and high-performing team will always focus on the larger objectives of the organization and won’t be distracted by internal dissonances. They would put organizational priorities above individual goals and work as a team to achieve those.
A high degree of respect and trust
When you create a high-performing team, you’re also building an organization where employees respect and trust each other. Team members know that they’re working towards a common goal whose outcome will benefit the organization. Such teams also find it easy to attract and retain members.
How to improve cohesiveness and create a high-performing team
These are some of the most effective ways to improve cohesiveness and create a high-performing team in your organization.
1. Promote communication
A high-performing team will value open communication. Organizations can improve team cohesiveness by laying out communication protocols and practices. Management should empower their teams with communication channels that encourage communication and access to key resources.
When individuals can freely engage with each other, there will be faster approval of ideas and more comprehensive discussions. With dedicated communication software such as Heycollab, you can get rid of needless meetings and foster trust among employees to improve effectiveness.
2. Clarify goals
Want to create a high-performing team? Give clarity on their objectives. This makes sure that everyone involved knows the larger purpose and is motivated to work toward it. Establishing goals also helps team members understand their specific roles and responsibilities.
Structuring goals as individual, team, and company goals will provide transparency and help individuals understand the hierarchy of objectives in the system. It also assists employees in perceiving how their contributions add up to the collective goals.
3. Encourage team-building activities
Organizations that create high-performing teams appreciate the need for team-building activities. These will not just improve the overall morale but also get individuals to cooperate and work as a team and solve challenges.
Team-building activities could be in the form of games, lunches, scavenger hunts, monthly outings, volunteer work, compliment circles, board games, and even escape rooms. To make it effective, leaders should regularize these activities and hold them at least once a month.
4. Define your values
Employees shouldn’t just know their objectives. Each team member should be aware of the values that define your organization. This is particularly important when you’re onboarding a new hire or recruiting someone into your team. The values could be fairness, inclusivity, open communication, or being respectful of each other.
Sometimes, members may not understand the organization’s values beyond what’s usually mentioned in mission statements. That’s why leaders should encourage employees to share how they interpret them and provide clarification wherever needed.
5. Be transparent
Leaders of high-performing teams understand the importance of transparency. This begins at the top of the pyramid and requires management to be clear about what they expect from a team and how it fits in with the larger strategic objectives. As a positive side effect, this endorsement also ensures that the team will get the resources it requires.
At a team level, managers should convey individual responsibilities, roles, and communication protocols. With greater transparency, there will be a lesser need for back-and-forth communication. Transparency also tremendously helps in improving morale.
6. Prioritize training and development
To create a high-performing team, you need individuals proficient in not just existing technologies but also upcoming domains. By providing adequate training and development, you will be investing in your organization’s most important asset, its employees.
The first step in up-skilling is figuring out the specific needs of employees. Along with generic training, you should provide customized modules that meet individual requirements. Organizations should also provide the necessary time for such training and not superimpose them on the employee’s current workloads.
7. Constructively resolve conflicts
Irrespective of individual talent and belief in the strategic mission, at some point, teams would experience conflict. Team leaders should have a framework for settling these conflicts amicably. It starts with an understanding that having an individual point of view isn’t a contrarian trait. In fact, it should be encouraged.
Managers should listen to individuals and come up with solutions in an unbiased manner. Practice active listening and resist the temptation to label individuals based on their characteristics. Encourage team members to see each other’s points of view and stress the need for cohesive relationships.
8. Empower team members
Nothing destroys initiative like micromanagement. Empowering your team members is an effective way to create a high-performing team. Once you give them their responsibilities, give them the power and autonomy to create their schedules, cooperate with each other, and come up with solutions.
People work better when there’s no one looking over their shoulders. It also creates a net of psychological safety since individuals would intuitively know that you trust them enough to give them autonomy.
A dedicated communication and project management software with specific, task-related channels can help you create a high-performing team. Heycollab was created for teams like yours. Check out its amazing features and discover how it can boost your team cohesion and productivity.