Team Motivation: Increasing Team Cohesion

You want to know all about team motivation in order to motivate your troops… and succeed. Look no further! Sometimes it’s enough to create links between employees. This article gives you the details on how to motivate a team in this way.

This article is the third in a series devoted to motivating a team in the workplace. Today I propose an approach to motivate your team by working on its cohesion.

What exactly are we talking about? Motivating a group of individuals – the company’s employees – by increasing the cohesion of each of its elements. The principle of team cohesion can be seen in the light of two definitions. We’ll present these two definitions to you, dwelling on one and then returning to the other.

Definitions of cohesion

The first definition of cohesion is the meaning commonly given to it: a strong union of the parts constituting a group.

This definition is true, but not very precise. We have to look at the chemistry (yes, you read it right) to find a much more precise definition of cohesion. Thus, in chemistry :

The cohesion of matter is the force between the molecules of a body, opposing their separation. And the encyclopedia specifies: Within the molecule, cohesion is ensured essentially by electromagnetic interaction. One can thus define, for each molecule, an intramolecular cohesion energy which is equal to the sum of the average energies of the bonds present in this molecule.

Motivating the company team: interactions to ensure group cohesion

Now let’s imagine that the body is the company’s team. Then let’s imagine that the molecules are the people who work on the team. Finally, let’s imagine that the electromagnetic interaction, this force, is the interactions between the people in the team that generate cohesion within the group.

Here is a diagram that represents this image with regard to corporate team motivation:

Increasing team interaction means generating or increasing the cohesion of the people in the team. This brings us back to the initial definition of cohesion: strong union of the parties making up the group. In this light, it takes on a more precise meaning.

The advantage of fostering these interactions is that it creates a mutually enriching bond between people.

This is the image of the engineer dumbfounded by the salesman’s ability to go and see someone and sell them something… and the salesman dumbfounded by the engineer’s ability to transform a vague idea into a concrete object that everyone can touch.

The important thing to remember, then, is that motivating the team by promoting its cohesion means strengthening the interactions between each person so that closer links are formed between them.

Ideas to increase the links between the people in the team

There are two frameworks for doing this: inside the company by institutionalizing appointments that oblige people to exchange, and outside the company in a more informal setting.

Motivate the team by establishing interactions within the company

You can set up times when people who don’t always work together can see and talk to each other:

  • Meetings and events that concern the whole company (signing of important contracts, presentation of the future strategy, announcement of a new product, opening of a new construction site / point of sale / shop, …),
  • Brainstorming sessions open to the whole company,
  • Horizontal working groups: dedicated to improving quality, collecting suggestions, calling on skills within the company for a specific need throughout the chain,
  • Meetings, discussions about ideas and novelties,
  • Development of projects in small groups,
  • Systems favouring the arrival of new recruits: welcoming moments, referring colleagues (who welcome, favour integration, and to whom to turn if necessary during a given period),
  • Discovery sessions in other departments (e.g. sales people spend x hours with the after-sales service, … or the other way round)

Note that the notion of meeting, working group, session, small groups is very broad. It is not the number of people that counts, nor the way people communicate. This can be done in rooms, by phone, by email and instant messaging, etc. As soon as you allow people to talk to each other within the company, neither the number of people nor the means of communication is important.

The above list is adaptable as far as possible for just about every sector and company size. You certainly have some great ideas that you can share in response to this article (at the bottom of the page).

Motivate the team by establishing interactions outside the company

Another way of proceeding is to set up meetings that do not take place directly within the company: seminars, aperitifs and dinners, afters works (outings between colleagues after working hours), presence at the stand of events in one’s sector of activity, etc…

Depending on the case, you can launch ideas or promote these interactions outside the company. However, keep in mind that you can’t participate in all of these events personally, and that’s good for everyone. After all, you’re still the boss.

How do you feel about building relationships between team members to help motivate everyone? How do you do it in your company?

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