How Does Team Building Lead to Team Cohesion?


Before we explore how team building leads to team cohesion, we must first clarify exactly what is meant by team cohesion.

What is meant by “team cohesion”?

Team cohesion is when a team is firing on all cylinders, working together in a positive way to achieve a common goal. In many cases, a team that has achieved cohesion is more focused on the overall performance of the team rather than individual performance. However, they appreciate their own contributions and the contributions of others.

How to achieve team cohesion

When it comes to forming and developing a team, there are certain stages they must progress through before they reach cohesion. These are described by psychologist Bruce Tuckman as forming, storming, norming and performing.

Essentially, when a group reaches the performing stage, they have achieved team cohesion. This means that the team is working productively together. They are focused on fulfilling the expectations of the team, and each individual understands how their place within the team and their contributions feed into that success.

As we all know, reaching team cohesion isn’t always a straight path. In some cases, it takes hard work, strong leadership and more than a few setbacks to achieve. That being said, there are certain ways and means of forging ahead with the goal of reaching team cohesion.

Team building for team cohesion

Alongside strong leadership, clearly defined goals, boundaries and open communication, team building is vital for team cohesion.

Specifically, team building activities offer the opportunity for groups of people to come together and get to know each other and understand how to work together.

Team building in ‘forming’ stages

The forming stage of group development indicates the point at which teams are being formed. This is when they have been told they will be working with each other, what the project is and the goal they are expected to achieve.

For teams who have worked together before, or already know each other, the forming stage is an opportunity to get reacquainted and settle into the dynamic. Team building for team cohesion in the forming stage is a way to get everyone talking and working together in a fun and relaxed environment. It also presents the opportunity for team members to ‘feel each other out’, identifying each other’s strengths and skills and testing the waters of communication.

Team building in ‘storming’ stages

During the storming stages of group development, conflict is to be expected. This arises as individuals test boundaries and acclimatise to the task at hand. In some cases, there may be a struggle for power or status, as bigger characters seek to establish themselves within the group.

Although conflict may seem like a bad thing at first glance, if managed correctly it can be channelled productively. Team building activities at this stage will allow the group to get into the groove of working together in a neutral environment. Team building in this stage can work to improve communication skills and get a better understanding of how fellow teammates work.

What is also key in the storming stage is developing a sense of trust and a bond between team members. Team building is an effective way to do this as it gives people the opportunity to motivate each other, build confidence and improve problem-solving skills, which will be key to moving through the storming stage.

Team building in ‘norming’ stages

Norming is typically a period of calm after storming. In this stage, everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities and are settling into them. When a team reaches the norming stage, it may be tempting to feel complacent, but there is still work to be done to maintain this new norm.

Team building can work to great effect to re-energise a team, create a competitive spirit and motivate everyone involved. Further to this, team building always presents an opportunity for growth and skills development, which will push the team forward to perform.

Team building in ‘performing’ stages

In the performing stage of team development, the team has reached peak performance. They are working together well and reaching goals to deadlines and exceeding expectations. At this point, individual ego is no longer a priority. Instead, all members are focused on contributing to the success of the team.

This is team cohesion!

Creating Team Cohesion with Team Building Activities

At KDM Events, we develop team building activities focused on developing key skills that make successful teams. If you would like some help in supporting your team to reach team cohesion, contact us today. Our friendly team will be more than happy to help you formulate an away day or activity that is perfectly suited to capitalising on the strengths and supporting the growth of your workforce.

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