Effective team states often involve a combination of strengths, cohesion, and transactive memory from every team member. While cohesion refers to the shared understanding that each member is an important and valuable part of a working group, cohesion emphasizes the need for everyone to contribute to a common goal. A strong sense of belonging is also a vital ingredient to successful team building. Individuals who feel that they are a valuable part of something larger than themselves will feel a sense of connection with each other.
Team cohesion and team effectiveness can be increased by developing effective ways to use transactive memory. Transactive memory is a set of information stored in the brain that allows people to recall information quickly. Efficient teams make good use of this by developing methods for storing and retrieving relevant information simultaneously. Efficient cohesion and effectiveness hinges upon the quick retrieval of relevant information no matter what task everyone is performing.
The importance of cohesion extends beyond simply being able to work as a unit. When teams take on tasks, they must also be able to work as a whole unit. All team members share a common set of skills, interests, talents, and so forth. When one or more individuals excel at a specific task, the entire team benefits because its members are now skilled in performing that task. Working with a set of specialized knowledge also helps.
All groups experience frustration at some point. Focusing on the development of lasting positive relationships is the key to success in all team states. Focusing on the development of long-term goals is equally important.
Building cohesion begins with the simple act of building trust within the group. Trust is a powerful psychological force that can drive individuals towards or away from other people. In a task that involves only two individuals, there is little room for building powerful psychological forces. But when task groups grow to involve several members, building trust is easier said than done. To ensure effectiveness, the team needs to have a set of rules in place that encourages and allows for free communication between team members about anything that might affect the task at hand.
Individuals cannot be forced to form cohesive working groups. Individuals who feel motivated cannot be forced into cohesion. As a result, it is important that groups develop strong emotional bonds between team members. When teams do this, they become more willing to work together and are more productive. While some might argue that cohesion only works in the short term, studies show that it helps teams form stronger bonds over time. This is because, when teams feel emotionally connected to one another, they are much more willing to share information and to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
A company that wants to foster both productivity and teamwork must make sure that they are using these psychological processes to develop strong emotional bonds within their teams. This can lead to more productivity and to a higher level of company success. It is important for businesses to make sure that teams are functioning as a cohesive unit. There is a real need to get this right if businesses are going to succeed.