Why and how team cohesiveness is essential at school or at work?

cohésion d'équipe

Are you a student in high school or college or a young professional? Do you have homework, case studies, presentations, workshops, or projects to manage together with your fellows? Do you have difficulties to make your point and contribute the way you wish when you are part of a team? Do you feel tensions, conflicts, people hiding what they think or feel? Do you find it hard to lead them properly and work efficiently? Do you find it tricky to foster inspiring team dynamics?

If yes, I invite you to read this article. It will help you to find answers and learn to better cooperate and work together, in a trustworthy and kind atmosphere. It will help you find keys to become a more performing and effective team.

1. What is a team exactly?

Let us define what a team is exactly. According to Katzenbach et Smith, “a team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

On the contrary, “a working group is where members are coming together primarily to share information, to share best practices, or perspectives, and to make decisions to help each individual perform within his or her area of responsibility. So, there is not necessarily a shared accountability, there is no common purpose, at least there is not like a small group common purpose. Ultimately at the end, each individual is making their own decisions about how they want to move forward and there is no collaboration, essentially.”

See the difference between individual interests and collective goals?

2. Team’s maturity and development stages

When you join a team, wherever you are, at school, for a sport, or at work, it can help you to recognize that all teams go through some phases. And those steps are for some uncomfortable. A team goes through several stages before becoming a highly performing team. Obviously as human beings, we cannot get rid of our emotions, thoughts, behaviours, and beliefs. Bruce Tuckman talks about 5 stages of team development. Those stages are more or less taking time, depending on the team members’ knowledge about this concept, their background, the way they are managed, their personality…

Once you have recognized this process, you may feel a bit more comfortable about the way you feel and act within a team. It is ok and totally normal to feel lonely at the beginning of a project, and to go through frictions with your co-workers. It is all worth it because it proves you are going through the steps towards high performing teams!

Does this concept help you to step back and accept the current situation with your team?

3. Better know each other to better work together

Do you see a bit better what team cohesiveness stands for? Wherever you are, at school or at work, teams go through those stages. Taking the time to work on the team shortens the time the team spends on each stage, and makes it more likely to reach the expected results and goals, in a pleasant way.

I worked for about 20 years in project & team management. I am not far from the truth if I say that 95% of project’s failure comes from people and the way they interact with each other. Now, when I coach executives, managers, co-workers or students and I ask them how they are doing with their ongoing projects, they often answer: “The aim of the project is very interesting and inspiring. However, we have little time to succeed. When we meet with the team, it is difficult to avoid tensions and long debates that do come to an end and constructive decisions. It makes us slow down too much…”

Are those people stuck in the storming stage?

If yes, the solution is to spend time to get to know each other. It will make the team work better together and reach the level of high performing team!

Patrick Lencioni, in his book “the 5 dysfunctions of a team” explains that working on team cohesiveness is not a waste of time. Because a strong and functioning team is more performing and efficient.  

Indeed, at the beginning of the process, new teams tend to be a bit irritated to spend time working on interacting better with the other members. But after a while, results come, and this time spent together pays off when members see how fast they come to common and efficient decisions.  And last but not least, team cohesiveness is a great competitive advantage because as P. Lencioni quotes: “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

To conclude, do not hesitate to spend time together. If you feel the need, get help from a coach who will use processes and tools to make you interact in a protective and trustful manner. You will feel better entitled to express yourself freely and openly.

There are various psychometric tools, which support team building process. They help you better know yourself and thus, better know and accept other people’s personality and behaviours.  Namely: MBTI®, DISC®, Processcom®, Comcolors® and so on.

4. Lencioni’s pyramid: a thorough tool for cohesiveness and performing teams.

Of course, there are several teambuilding concepts on the market. I choose to talk about Lencioni’s 5 dysfunction of a team, because I believe it is one of the most comprehensive concepts. Teams eventually benefits from a better cohesiveness, they feel purpose in what they do. It provides a working framework, that all members have accepted and shared. And it is a wonderful team regulation tool. Let us watch the following video, which shows those benefits:  

What did you think about it? I am sure some of the situations rang a bell to you, didn’t they?

Lencioni talks about 5 dysfunctions to consider when willing to make a team work.

Let me explain the concept and its advantages:

A cohesive team brings a competitive advantage compared to competitors. It is not easy to factually measure it. However, it brings significant results after a while.  A team saves time and money when it gets rid of political games, ambiguity, internal competition, and everlasting debates about same topics. The team also work in a more enjoyable environment, where people are closer, engaged, and loyal.

Do you understand now why I like this model so much? All layers are co-dependent and obviously, it all starts with people.

Foundations rely on trust!

To conclude, I built a table where you can find a summary of concrete actions you can run to achieve all steps. Here again we talk about cohesiveness, purpose, framework, and team regulation, which lead to great results. All that in a kind, fun and performing atmosphere. I hope you and your team will enjoy it!

cohesiveness essential at school

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Emmanuelle Rouaud, Coach et formatrice à Thil Ain - 01 Lyon
Emmanuelle Rouaud

Je suis coach professionnelle et formatrice internationale

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