Organizational leaders should be cautious when members team up in groups. However, their curiosity should be driven towards understanding that groups are not always harmful to organizations.
Sometimes these groups can be a source of positive strength. They should be appreciated by management because in pursuit of fulfilling their goals as a team, they contribute towards achieving organizations' strategic objectives.Team Cohesion DefinedThe cohesiveness of a group or team is the degree to which members are attracted to and motivated to remain part of it (Hunt, 2004). In the previous years a team has been associated with sports, but in the recent years, it has come to be associated with businesses as a model that has been embraced and yielded positive results. Team work is the individual and comprehensive energy and enthusiasm that is directed towards achieving a certain goal, the commitment and happiness displayed in doing a task and all the combined forces that make members stick in a certain team.
Cohesion is high if the group members' sense success in their tasks, if they are of the same age bracket, if there is respect from other groups, if there is no physical coerciveness involved and if the groups are small in size.Drivers of CohesionOrganizational management should first come up with a clear goal as to what needs to be achieved. They should do this through communicating effectively to the team members through the available channels. Effective communication in this case is not the technological advancement that has replaced the traditional 'get together'. Friedley & Manchester (2005) state that it is providing communication opportunities in real time and space for team members that is necessary to build team cohesion.
Members should be let in on the happenings of the organizations. They should be given opportunity to raise issues or ask questions on a face to face basis to build a sense of 'human moment' with their management. Human moment should be formulated in a way that members either converge in a room or represent themselves in physical form. Yukelson (n.d) observes that in athletics, team members respect coaches that are open, honest, genuine, sincere and direct. This gives the members a sense of care and togetherness by breaking the line between employee and employer.
At that time the aim is directed towards a specified goal.Bill (2004) observes that in fire fighting business, a good boss should foster good communication and clear expectations, brief crews well, understand the strengths and limitations of each crew member, and create an atmosphere in which crew members look out for each other. The desire to stay in a group can be driven by the kind of leadership portrayed by those in control. A team member ought to feel empowered and proud to be in that group in order to perform adequately.
The focus on end result from both the leaders and the team members should be the driving force of a group. The spirit of equal responsibility; that if one fails we all fail is essential in building cohesiveness. A leader should not make team members feel inferior in any way, s/he should be a guide who offers genuine sense of peer helping and social support, stepping up for what is right, moving the team along in the right direction (Yukelson n.d). That is why management should practice charismatic modes of leading that will enable employees to draw near to the management and not shy away.
A leader should not be the one giving direction or ideas all the time, the best ideas should be from and discussed by teams instead of an individual. A leader should set high goals and encourage members that they can make it as a team to the peak, tell them that as a team they have a potential. This will bring out the trust a leader has in the team and encourage trust across the team.Organization structureComposition of a team matters, with the diversity of psychological and demographical aspects. Managers should be in a position to understand that not every person can fit in every group.
Team members need to feel a sense of belonging in order to have a close knit relationship that is a necessity in a cohesive group. For example, it will be tasking to formulate a team of Americans and Iraqis to represent either country in a soccer world cup owing to their historical differences. Psychological, emotional, attitudinal, superiority, inferiority values and beliefs' differences may arise either inwardly or outwardly. However much the team may seem together, deep inside, some could be weighing these aspects which are killers of cohesion. Management should have in mind that even the slightest differences in team members could mean disaster for the organization and should never be ignored. Instead, team members should be encouraged to use their knowledge, skills and talents to influence one another towards attaining shared goals.
Members need to use their energy towards group work, and however little an individual's contribution may seem, it should be appreciated by the team to avoid problems associated with hierarchy and lowering of self-esteem that may hinder performance.Trust is essential in any normal relationship. It is not clearly defined how management can bring team members to trust each other yet it is essential to build a cohesive team. According to Heathfield (n.d), trust is the necessary precursor for: feeling able to rely upon a person, cooperating with and experiencing teamwork with a group, taking thoughtful risks, and experiencing believable communication.
Team exercises that allow members to share their life experiences, showing little bits of vulnerability, is what trust entails. By sharing these personal sides of their life, they will be more open and comfortable to talk matters relating to business. Managers can organize luncheons, barbecues, retreats, sports days and dinners as platforms to encourage socialization. In decision making, members should be involved and whatever the team decides on becomes final. The tendency of pointing fingers at each other or blaming individuals should be discouraged. Loyalty should be observed at each level of trust.
Management should take care of arising issues truthfully and with a lot of integrity and inform members of every development. A leader needs to know that a team consists of human beings and exercise empathy while carefully listening to team members, and avoid discussing members in front of other members. Building trust may not be an easy task but trust in itself is a vital tool in building team cohesion.The size of a group matters in building cohesiveness.
Hunt (2004), points out that cohesiveness tends to be high in groups of small sizes, where members respect one another's competencies, agree on common goals and work on interdependent tasks. Management should build teams that consist of members with similar identity and taste. It is natural that a lesser crowd can agree more than a large one. It is also clear that when it comes to a leader delegating duties to a smaller group, each member is bound to get a task, therefore, participation by every member is guaranteed. Performance will be high in such a case because personal skills and knowledge will be exercised and driven towards team work which in turn builds the positive outcome of the organization. In a smaller group, an individual will also have a chance to shine and show what one is made of through self expression, putting personal knowledge, skills and talents to work than if it was a large group where there is room for hiding, joy-riding and waiting on others to do the tasks.
Apart from the major driving forces discussed above, there are other minor factors that contribute to team cohesiveness. Humor accompanied by laughter has been proven to lighten the mood of a group. It gives room for openness and self expression. Managers should hold open forums and ensure that 'light moments' of laughter are experienced, include jokes and stories amid a formal or an informal meeting.
Another factor that is often neglected yet important is the reward system of an organization. Work alone will not achieve organizational objectives. Sometimes, offer rewards and appreciation of tasks well done, at departmental or individual levels. Encourage participation of members who rarely take part in open competitions and appreciate them for taking the courage to a first step. This will boost their morale and esteem which sometimes is a problem that leads to poor performance.
Competition and duration is also a builder of cohesiveness. After members have been initiated in a group, it is wise that leaders and management have say in inter departmental competition for a certain prestigious trophy because this will make groups come up with brilliant ideas and work hard to win a trophy.Organizations should encourage team work at all levels. Management efforts should be geared towards creating teams that will build individual performance which is a first step towards achieving strategic objectives. Communication should be effective and encouraged between management and employees. Trust should be cultivated and if attained nurtured.
Team sizes ought to be small for leadership and organization purposes. If all these are taken into consideration, an organization will benefit from outstanding team performances.