“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress,
and working together is success.”
– Henry Ford
Teamwork is responsible for many of the greatest human feats we rely on every single day. There’s beauty in collaborating with a group of like-minded individuals to accomplish something greater than any of you could’ve accomplished on your own. But sometimes, cracks develop in the mold. What happens when teams begin to divide? Can unity be restored? Of course it can! Here are three ways to unify a divided team.
1. Create a Joint Goal
Starting with a unified goal is the first step to resetting the harmony of a disjointed team. You may want to begin by restating previously created goals that have gone wayward. Next, proceed by allowing teammates an opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate to draft additional team goals that they’ll work towards collectively. Discuss resources needed, plans for pitfalls, and ways to measure progress. Lastly, set check-in dates. By assigning a joint goal to the team, everyone’s focus should be aligned with the mission, working to heal the divide.
2. Emphasize Relationship
Next, it’s time to get personal. Avoidant team members can fit into one of two categories: they have either (1) a complete lack of a relationship or (2) a fractured relationship.
To mend the division for those in the first category, you must work toward building a relationship. It’s important to note that your goal shouldn’t be to force friendships or family-like relationships amongst team members. You’re simply aiming for a working familiarity that doesn’t result in the team divisions you’ve seen up to this point. Try methods like team builders, outings, lunches, get-to-know-you activities, ice breakers, team volunteering, etc. where unfamiliar teammates have an opportunity to mingle.
For those in the second category, the team leader may choose to hold a private mediation attempt with both parties to solve the issue. After reconciliation, the same relationship-building techniques that were applicable for category one can be tried with teammates from category two.
3. A Conflict Resolution Toolbox
Lastly, to unify a divided team, offer members “best practices” to use during tough moments. Disagreements happen and that’s perfectly normal. How those disagreements are handled is what’s most important. During team meetings (and even through email), try providing friendly conflict resolution tips like these:
- Attack the Problem, Not the Person
- Keep Your Conversation Goal-Oriented
- Choose a Neutral Location (In Person)
Unity is an important aspect of any functional team. Keeping the peace should be at the forefront of the agenda. Use these three tips to restore balance and get back on track. Be consistent and helpful, and before you know it, you’ll have a healthy team that’s ready to tackle challenges together!