Workplace cohesion is essential for many reasons, as is cohesion amongst teams when collaborating with other companies on important projects.
Whilst team efforts produce greater results than individual efforts, there exists the potential for negative behaviour in the form of disagreements about the direction of the project and the way it should be taken, gossiping, infighting and general personality clashes.
This is, to a great extent, normal but can be mitigated when management understands the root of the problem and boasts viable solutions.
1. Identify any existing problems
It’s often the case that problems exist before teams are formed or work begins on a project that involves collaboration between companies. By identifying the problem and resolving it in its early stages management stands a better chance of resolving the issue before it gets out of hand.
2. Identify objectives
For cohesion and a positive outcome, all members must understand the objectives of the project and their roles. A clearly defined objective reduces the likelihood of (some) avoidable problems arising because it provides everyone involved with an understanding of what they’re working towards.
3. Clear communication
Clear communication emanating from management is essential for team cohesion, especially when collaborative efforts between companies are taking place. This not only involves communication between management and their subordinates but also within the teams themselves.
4. Clearly outline roles and expected behaviour
Everyone should have a clearly defined role and the behaviour expected of them should also be clearly outlined. The latter shouldn’t be necessary, though due to the problems that have a tendency to arise within teams and during collaborative efforts between teams from different companies it’s become a requirement.
Management should work with each team individually to allocate roles by delineating individual responsibilities according to individual skills sets and they must also clearly outline individual and team deadlines.
5. Work at promoting trust
Not only must management work at instilling trust in their teams for themselves, they must also work at promoting trust within teams and between teams. The need for this is greater than normal when companies collaborate on projects.
Trust-building exercises have been found effective though there hopefully shouldn’t be a need for this, however, bear in mind that the best, most productive teams are those whose members trust each other – trust-building exercises could be well worth the time involved.
6. Management mediation of disputes (conflict resolution)
Mediating disputes isn’t an easy task at the best of times but this is something that is entrusted to management level employees and is one of many reasons why management commands an often significantly higher salary.
Conflict resolution and dispute mediation skills can be enhanced by management level training – see lct.uk.com and similar websites for more information – since these aspects of managerial roles are covered in many management level training courses.
7. Encourage social activities and interaction
Team members that get along well with each other have a tendency to work better together so encourage social activities and interaction, for example drinks after work on Fridays when the working week is done.
Celebrating successes together is another great way to achieve cohesion and trust between members of a team, as well as between teams and management and therefore should be encouraged.
8. Encourage feedback
Bear in mind that you’re not perfect either and that there are certain areas that you’ll need to improve upon. Encouraging feedback from your employees is beneficial for yourself, the project you’re working on and your organisation, so make yourself as approachable as possible and not beyond reproach.
This aids employee engagement, reduces staff turnover and strengthens your business organisation.