What is is that keeps a team together? Why do people want to join a team and what is it that keeps them from going their separate ways? Or, in some cases, what makes it so they can’t wait to get away from one another?
One of the things that keeps a team together are shared experiences. The thing is, these shared experiences have to be significant. They cannot be a part of the everyday experience. If you work in an office and push keys on a computer all day, that does not create a bond with you or the rest of the team. Instead you have to do something outside the normal everyday activities. Going to a park and throwing a Frisbee around is a good excuse to connect to others. Or you could go to an escape room. Other activities could just be playing a game after hours or during lunch breaks. Any of these shared experiences is something that helps create a bond.
There is another kind of shared experience that can create a bond: The shared trial. If the team has a tremendous deadline looming and has to pull out all the stops to make it happen, this can be a chance to build team spirit. Just don’t expect it to last. It may create a special bond, but if you don’t back it up with the less stressful, but meaningful experiences, then your team will still break up.
And let’s face it, teams break up anyway. That’s just the natural progression. You build the team to take care of a specific task and members of the team need to come and go as needed. What is important, is how they leave the team. Is it done in a way where they feel they were still valued or was there “bad blood” when they left? Who’s fault was that? Does it really matter?
What matters is how you treat the person who left, because it sends a signal. Not just to the person leaving, but to the people who are still on the team. “Will he treat me the same way if I leave?”
And who knows, you may have the chance to come together as a team again. It’s better to keep the dynamic positive so you don’t have to build bridges the next time you connect.
The image, titled “Glue”, was taken by “Zhao !”. You can find it on flickr.