Cultivating Team Spirit

In any competition, sport or business, surrounding yourself with a strong team is vital to success. But simply putting a group of people together and giving them a common goal doesn’t necessarily create a team, nevermind a formidable one! But there are habits and decisions that are sure to strengthen teams and cultivate team spirit– whether on the field or in the workplace.

A team of qualified and talented people united and enthusiastic to achieve a common goal goes beyond simply gathering great individuals with the skills and attributes your organization demands. It’s about creating community and mutual values between these people so they know they can trust and depend on each other and therefore work better together.

Before we look at what builds team spirit, it may be helpful to consider what has the opposite effect. Lack of willingness to help and support others, personal grandstanding, and ego-driven behaviour are all enemies of team spirit because they encourage conflict, internal angst, and are generally demotivating to everyone exposed to them. On the other hand, genuinely considering others and being willing to sacrifice your personal interests to secure the success of the entire group is the very definition of team work, and the feeling of pride and loyalty in a team and commitment to help it do its best is the definition of team spirit. Here are a few pointers to achieve this:

Choose team players but let everyone play to their strengths

Make sure the people on your team are people who enjoy achieving things in groups and understand what the means. At the same time, and in that context, it’s vital to appreciate that everyone will have different strengths and weaknesses and that they should always be encouraged to play to their best points, like a great runner being placed on the wing in a football game. This way every team member will be able to make a valuable contribution.

Make sure everyone is on the same page

Set out your team’s core principles, goals, and objectives clearly so that everyone understands exactly what they are, and the milestones involved in achieving them.  Also, define what teamwork is and explain the behaviours that sustain it. Being clear will put everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction.

Unite against the competition

Nothing unites a team like some healthy competition. Be sure your team are aware of how their rivals perform so they can better prepare to go up against them. The act of competing will also massively boost camaraderie and enthusiasm.

Reward performance and celebrate success  

Some people will go above and beyond the course of duty to help their team members, and this is exactly the kind of behaviour that must be encouraged. To do so, be sure to reward those who consistently take the time to help and teach others. Announcing the best team player of the month is a nice way to honour them as well as reinforce the importance of teamwork. It’s also important to really celebrate team successes as this really enhances team spirit.