Emotion bonds strong teams
“The most memorable moments in life cannot be seen or touched. They must be felt with the heart”
Watching athletes going for Gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics and seeing the dedication and passion of their national teams is a very emotional sight. We can’t help but join in, willing the athletes to push that little bit harder, shouting encouragingly at the TV screen and celebrating with them when they win the ultimate prize. If you were a member of such a team, it would certainly be an experience you would never forget. Whether experiencing the joy of winning, or the disappointment of not making it all the way to the top, you and your team would go through it all together and build an emotional bond for life.
This doesn’t just apply to sports and athletes; it applies to colleagues in business too. During the Winter Games a core team of 150 business technologists, my Atos colleagues from around the world, work together to ensure the technology behind the games runs smoothly. They are also passionate about delivering their best while working in a high-pressure environment and many having trained and prepared for years in advance to support this special event. Being able to share such a unique work experience together creates an emotional bond and, here too, it makes the team stronger.
For a team to succeed every member must know and understand their specific role so that you are united in working to achieve the team’s goal. It’s the bigger picture that drives your actions. While this is broadly understood in most businesses, it is usually approached in a purely practical way by determining SMART objectives or establishing clear KPIs. And there is nothing wrong with that, but for best performance it lacks a vital ingredient: emotion. Emotion is the extra gear or passion, you need to go from cruising speed to take off. When teams have an emotional bond, members understand each other better, know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, support each other through tough times and enjoy celebrating successes together.
Not every team has the opportunity to work on amazing projects like the Olympic Games, but why not consider organizing an ‘experience’ for your team in order to build a stronger bond:
- Select a project or an activity that touches the heart. For example, an idea or project the team feels strongly about. Or, if you don’t have the opportunity in your organization, deploy your team’s expertise to support a local charity or your local community.
- Set a clear goal. The goal should be ambitious and push team members to deliver their best.
- Let team members propose what they will contribute. To achieve the goal, let passion rule and don’t just select roles based on skillset. Passion can make you want to learn new skills and discover talents you never knew you had.
- Determine the Prize. Whether it’s your photo in the daily newspaper, a team dinner in that 3-star restaurant that you would normally never consider, a weekend away, or a prestigious business award, it should be a prize that’s worth striving for.
- Trust team members. Trust everyone to take their role seriously and deliver what they promise. Micromanagement is a passion killer!
- Be a coach and mentor. Provide advice and guidance on a personal level to help individuals grow in their role and become true champions.
- Create an open work climate. It must be an environment where colleagues feel comfortable to be themselves and enjoy mutual trust and respect.
Now, what is your team experience that deserves a gold medal?