God created us to live and work in community. The more community we experience, the stronger our teams. Highly productive teams often exude strong personal bonds and work in an atmosphere that fosters community. Good leaders understand the importance of community and actively seek to build it among their teams. Consider these 6 ways to build community in the teams you lead.
- Provide regular relationship building experiences for your teams to deepen their chemistry and their friendships.
- Foster the sense that nobody is in an ‘out group.’ If some team members are perceived to be in an ‘out group’ it can set up a subtle prejudice that can affect team dynamics. Teach your team that because we naturally default to seeing others as being in an ‘out’ group, your team must be vigilant to avoid it. Monitor for cliques. Be vigilant especially when you bring new team members on board.
- Create physical gathering places in the workplace that encourage socialization.
- Something as simple as water cooler conversations can help build community.
- Regularly remind your team to see other team members’ perspectives.
- Teach your team to learn to walk in other team member’s shoes. It’s called mentalizing. Mentalizing helps us see situations from the perspective of others. Studies show that the more we do this, the more we are likely to feel empathy toward and relate more positively to those whose perspective we are taking.
- Help team members share their goals.
- When team members share goals, their connection to each other and their commitment to the team’s goals will intensify.
- Build an attitude of gratitude among your team.
- Model gratitude so that your team can see it in you. Regularly explain how gratitude not only is Biblical but that it actually helps build team cohesiveness.
- Build trust.
- As trust increases, the neurotransmitter oxytocin increases which strengthens cooperativeness among your team and empathy toward each other. It even lowers blood pressure and the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies.
What have you done to build community in your team?