A team that lacks unity and cohesion isn't much of a team, is it? UNITY should be the first item on your checklist if you are an employer looking to establish a great workforce or a coach looking to build a successful squad.
"Unity is strength...wonderful things may be accomplished when there is teamwork and collaboration," says American poet Mattie Stepanek.
So the question is, how can you develop team unity and a sense of belonging among a group of people who may have little in common other than the fact that they are members of the same team?
What happens when team unity falls apart?
In sports, when unity falls apart, many negative consequences occur. Such as, Factions emerge, battle lines are drawn, communication breaks down, and suspicion grows. Productivity and efficiency plummet, while collaboration and innovation become nearly impossible. The focus shifts away from work and onto what the other group is up to and what your next step should be. The end of team cohesion is defined primarily by a shift from a group-oriented to a self-centered mindset. Individual survival takes precedence over team progress and achievement.
How the team unity could be improved?
One of the most important jobs of a coach is to bring a team together. So, today we examine what we term as "The 10 R's." The term "the 10 R's" refers to five pairs of words that begin with the letter R. They are an excellent starting point for discussions about how to increase team cohesiveness in every particular situation.
Roles and Rules
Without clear rules and roles, a team can't be united. Individual members who are unclear about their positions will experience irritation and infighting. The 'blame game' is rampant in sports teams with unclear roles.
The same is true for rules. What is and is not acceptable should be a crucial component of any competitive sporting teams' pre-season preparation. The most successful regulations are agreed upon in conjunction with all team members. They are then documented. Then, all parties sign 'on the dotted line,' agreeing to follow them.
Relationships and Respect
It is not necessary that team members must befriend each other, neither do they have to like each other for enhancing team unity. They must, however, respect one another. Teams that do not allow cliques to form, tend to produce mutual respect. In other words, there must be some level of relation of respect among all team members.
Reassurance and Reasons
For building team unity, the coach needs to give frequent reassurance and reasons to the players. Because some players need reassurance while others like to get reassurance that they are on the right path. So it is important for the coaches to give reasons for progress and struggle to the players. This will assist all the team members to help each other for improving their performance and weak areas, which resultantly, stops the blame game and increases team unity among the players.
Ready and Relaxed
One famous myth in sports is that winning more games is one of the best ways to improve team unity. In reality, it is not the case. True team spirit is seen when a team loses a game. This means that the coach must thoroughly prepare the team because performers who are prepared and relaxed are more likely to give better results than those who are not well prepared.
Recognition and Rewards
In sports, the clear winners are frequently overstated. But there is also a need to celebrate the less obvious victories. Every moment should be cherished and the achievements of every player should be recognized and rewarded.
Apart from the above list of R’s, there are also some other tips to boost team unity. These are;
The problem in building excellent team dynamics in sports stems from a coach's inability to express his or her vision or goals for the team. As a result, team members do not comprehend their aims. Chen (2010) proposed in his study that the coach's interaction with players is the most important aspect of developing team unity. Best coaches must be skilled. Clear communication between team members is the basic requirement of building team unity.
Team collaboration is required for team togetherness. It is, in essence, a paradigm that enables players to make valuable judgments about themselves and the team. Team socialization has a significant impact on a player's desire to actually be a member of the team. However, coaches must realize that team members want some autonomy; thus, they will not expect or prefer the coach to make every decision for them. So, coaches must be willing to interact with players and empower them in particular instances. In addition, team members also demand emotional support from their coaches and teammates.
Individualism demolishes team togetherness. A coach must be willing to go to any length to avoid displaying favoritism to one player. Furthermore, he/she should not allow an individual to assume the role of team star. It can be prevented by ensuring that each player is committed to the team's success rather than their own. A successful coach will set clear goals for each member of the team. Each player must understand his or her particular function as well as the responsibilities of each of his or her colleagues. A coach must help each team member to recognize their talent while also teaching them how to apply their skills to boost overall team performance and cohesiveness.
Custom team uniform
Custom sportswear demonstrates that the team is working together to achieve a common purpose. When players are wearing custom team uniforms, they get into the correct frame of mind, consider each other equals, and support each other like a time that eventually affects their performance.
The preceding exemplifies the necessity of team unity and how to attain it by establishing individual and team goals and then communicating them to assistant coaches, captains, and players. The above is not a set formula for success, but it can assist coaches and players in developing a personal model for increasing team cohesiveness.