Teamwork Tactics: 7 Ways to Build a Cohesive Team at Work

Building a cohesive team at work takes intention. A rare group can come together and naturally align, with each individual contributing their strengths to harmoniously fulfill the team’s purpose. However, in most cases, a happy and productive team is the result of deliberate and strategic effort.

A cohesive, quality team can lead to higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and better problem-solving. When leadership takes the time to develop a healthy team culture, they create a foundation for long-term success.

Effective team alignment ideas reach beyond fun exercises or events and delve into the culture of teamwork itself. Managers committed to building quality teams model the attitudes and behaviors that drive a robust team culture.

Read on to learn how to develop a culture that allows them to flourish.

What is Team Culture?

Culture is shared values, beliefs, assumptions and norms. Culture is what a group has learned about 1) how to fit in and 2) how to be successful, that influences how we think, behave, and interact with others.

A team’s culture is heavily influenced by the company’s leadership team and company culture. Some groups can shine despite their management, but more often, cohesive teams develop from leadership’s intention, passion, and dedication.

With good company culture and intentional leadership, teams can develop their own team cultures that connect people to results. There isn’t one single way to have a good team culture. For example, some teams thrive on friendly competition, while others encourage cooperation.

The first step in building an effective team at work is to define the results that matter the most. What kind of culture is necessary to maximize those results? With that in mind, evaluate your current culture. What is the gap between your current culture and the ideal culture?

What are the Benefits of a Cohesive Team Culture?

Cohesive teams communicate and problem-solve more effectively. When individuals are part of a strong team and feel their contribution is valued, they will generally be more engaged and happy at work.

Team culture impacts productivity and the quality of a team’s output.

A good culture helps an organization attract and retain top talent. In a survey conducted by Builtin in 2019, 46 percent of job seekers listed company culture as a crucial factor, and 47 percent said poor company culture was their primary motivation for looking for a new job.

While that data relates to company culture, it can also apply to team culture. If the overall company culture is great, but team culture isn’t, your team will struggle to retain talent.

7 Ideas to Build a Cohesive Team at Work

There are many roads to building a cohesive team at work. Find a way that aligns with your own values, the current company culture, your team, and your team goals. What’s most important is to connect with your people.

Here are a few ideas to get started.

Fit the People to the Roles

This may not be possible if your team is already built, but building a team strategically from the start helps build a productive and organized team.

When selecting each team member, consider how their skills and abilities will contribute to the team. Which personalities will work well together? Which strengths will balance out the team? How can everyone work together to create a cohesive team?

With strategic hiring, you lay the foundation for a cohesive team.

Support, Recognize, and Develop Your People

Your team takes cues from how you treat them. Leading a cohesive team isn’t as simple as trying out a few team-building ideas. Rather, it’s an ongoing commitment to creating a culture that supports teamwork. Supporting, recognizing, and developing your staff contributes to a positive team culture.

When you value your employees as individuals, create opportunities for growth and development, and keep the lines of communication open, you foster the types of relationships essential to solid teams.

Connect the Team’s Goals to the Company’s Purpose

Employees who feel connected to a well-defined purpose are more likely to feel passionate about their job. In a McKinsey study, 70 percent of respondents expect to find meaning in their jobs, and employers who fail to provide this purpose are more likely to lose top talent.

Key performance indicators, sales numbers, and productivity numbers have a purpose—but they are not the purpose that employees seek. Instead, your team will be motivated by the following:

  • Knowing they are creating a positive impact
  • Being recognized for their contribution
  • Visibly working toward a meaningful collective goal

Connection is at the heart of culture, and that includes connection to purpose.

Encourage Innovation

Don’t stifle innovation. Allow space for trial and error. When employees are free to try an idea, see it fail, and learn from the experience, they have permission to be truly innovative.

An innovative team culture also encourages feedback loops so everyone can work together to improve.

Give (and Receive) Feedback

Transparent, honest, and caring feedback isn’t easy to give, but it builds interpersonal bonds and helps your team understand where they stand. This area challenges many leaders, but giving constructive feedback, when and where appropriate, can prevent long-term problems.

You should also allow your team to give you constructive feedback. Your team’s diverse perspectives will help you see things from new angles.

Whenever possible, implement their feedback and adjust accordingly. If you can’t make changes, for whatever reason, take the time to acknowledge the feedback and explain why you can’t follow it at this time. This shows your team that you value their opinions.

Be Willing to Adapt

Outdated attitudes and policies about work can limit your team’s potential. Challenging and improving standard work practices is okay if it supports your team’s success. Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Adapt the workspace
  • Hold meetings outside
  • Block out creative time
  • Allow flexible hours or a hybrid schedule

Trying new things can improve productivity and spark innovation.

Develop Your Team’s Leadership Skills

Helping your team develop their leadership skills is a high-impact way to add value to your team and the company. You can launch a mentorship program, create opportunities for your team to give presentations, and dedicate time every month to leadership training.

Strong Teams, Strong Company

A cohesive team culture isn’t something you develop over a week. It is fostered through careful strategy, a supportive framework, and a human-centered leadership approach.

If you are ready to build a cohesive team, we can help. Compass offers a series of free workshops to build Elite teams. Spots are limited, so sign up today!

Take you team to the next level. Learn more about our "building elite teams" workshop series.