This article was produced for techSPARK’s Leadership Month, sponsored by The Conscious Leadership Co (TCLC). ‘Together’ is the fourth blog in the Five Pillars of Conscious Leadership series. Read on to learn more about how as a leader you can build connection in teams. Stay tuned for the final piece to come next week, and make sure to check out the Awake, Resilience & Growth features. 

By Rosie Wintour, Head of Content at TCLC.

Successful businesses are not a 2D organisational chart. They are a complex web of interdependencies and relationships that can’t easily be captured on paper. It’s these complex social systems and relationships between individuals that shape how work gets done, how decisions are made and how information flows within an organisation.

The truth is that the closer those relationships are and the deeper the connectivity, the more people feel a sense of belonging and inclusion, and this is what drives effective co-creation, innovation and progress. 

Creating connection in teams

As leaders, part of our role is to create an environment where these relationships can be nurtured. To intentionally prioritise opportunities for people to connect and forge relationships with their colleagues. It’s these strategic alliances that form the cohesion necessary for effective collaboration, cooperation and innovation.

Research shows that much of this happens outside of the formal structures seen in teams. It’s the connections that are built by the group that play sports together, those that are into gaming outside of work hours, or those that simply take the time to find their common ground together.  

It’s essential not to underestimate the value of time spent connecting on a human level with each other that is not about just “getting the work done”.

The significance of these interdependencies means that it is a leader’s responsibility to create an environment where people feel safe to forge these close relationships. And that they have the time and space to do so. It is critical that leaders play their part by reinforcing the strengths and abilities of their team members rather than calling out the failings or weaknesses – or getting caught up in derogatory conversations about members of the team.

Leaders who understand the importance and significance of relationships in the teams they lead consciously and intentionally act in a way that brings the team together. There are a number of behaviours they demonstrate:

  • Encouraging group discussion
  • Asking the team to solve problems together
  • Empowering individuals to speak to others in the team to work things out 
  • Organising time for the team to come together
  • Inviting feedback from the team in a group setting 
  • Connecting team members with others who can help them

True cohesion is borne from leaders who understand the value of the human scaffolding they build around them and their organisation. They take the time to tighten the bonds.