4 Things That Mess With Team Cohesion

As a leader, having a functional team can make your life much easier. Building that team takes time and intention to choose, develop, and empower the team members. But maybe you’re missing with one of the key things that make the team work… team cohesion.

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Webster defines cohesion as a condition in which people or things are united closely. As a team, the ability to work with a team built on trust is crucial for efficiency and success. The last thing anyone wants to do is work on a team full of people who they themselves do not trust. Don’t be the root of the problem.

My dysfunctional team

Several years ago I was selected to lead a group of people from several organizations. Though it was an honor to be selected, I did not realize a lot of things at the time. One was how to lead by influence. My entire leadership exposure was to leaders who were actually nothing more than managers with authority to make people do things. Through that failure on my part, I learned so much about myself and leadership, especially how not to build team cohesion.

Four Ways

Leaders should really build their team and get out of the way. If your team needs you to make every decision, you have not succeeded. Success as a team does requires some form of cohesion to come together. That cohesion should be both with you and without you.

Below are 4 ways that you mess with your team’s cohesion, intentional or accidental.

  • No Trust
    If you want to destroy your team and their ability to work as one, show your lack of trust in one or all of the team. If you don’t trust them, they won’t trust you. You can single-handedly destroy the team here and here alone.
  • Micromanaging
    I have yet to find a human being who loves being micro managed. People want freedom to do the things they are good at. When someone is hovering over their shoulder, they can effectively be shut down and demoralized. Let the team develop as one and feed off each other to find solutions that are probably better than yours anyway.
  • Lack of developing
    Way back in 1965, Bruce Tuckman created the stages of team formation. Throughout my career, I have seen these stages in various forms several times, but one thing is true, all four occur in highly effective teams.Allowing your team to enter the Forming, Storming, Norming, and finally Performing stages is part of the team development process. Don’t squash every quarrel as some are required to effectively grow as a team and develop into a team that performs to its original intent.
  • Fueling Feuds
    Ok, so I just told you not to stop every little fight, now I’m telling you don’t fuel fights. Confused yet? A simple quarrel can spark conversation and grow your team, a feud can drive a wedge between them that cannot be removed. What’s the threshold? It depends… Each situation is unique and has to be analyzed.


Question: Have you worked for a boss who talked about the team’s vision and yet destroyed any possibility of the team actually performing? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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