How to build team cohesion

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How to build team cohesion 

With so many office workers only connecting via video calls right now, we know some managers and team leaders have struggled to build team cohesion.

At times like this, having routines can be important and fixed catch up sessions like a 121 or task review will help managers and team leaders support their people and maintain the connection that can feel missing when working alone at home each day.

During any 121 interviews and task review sessions, positive feedback should be encouraged as things may have changed at home and it can be a great opportunity to talk about personal plans for the future and not just work.

By using a range of facilitation skills like active listening and open questioning in a 121 or catch up, managers will gain a greater insight into how their team are feeling. This will also help them spot if anybody is struggling or needs additional help or support.

Some areas to explore when coaching managers and team leaders:

  • How to keep the team connected and motivated
  • How to spot stress or manage anxiety within the team
  • How to deflect aggression or work through a crises
  • How to focus on the future and make plans


Allow time to be trivial

With so many people working from home, many of the quick non work related catch ups a team member would normally take for granted have been lost. They are not bumping into people at the coffee machine or chatting as they wait to go into a meeting room, so the only interaction many people may have is in a formal meeting.

To build team cohesion in this type of environment can be difficult, so a quick check in at the start or end of a team meeting can be really helpful. Suggesting the manager asks everybody to simply take it in turns to share what they have been doing outside of work or talk about their plans for the weekend is one way they can reconnect through something more trivial.


And have some fun

Anything that helps build team cohesion is important right now and some teams have been adding some more fun elements into their team meetings. They have been having a quick quiz, treasure hunt and even playing games. Some have held a virtual social event and run regular team-building sessions.

This may not all work as well as it would if the team were face to face, but does get people interacting in a way that is not possible when they are sitting at home alone. One style of activity that could work well as part of any online event like this (and sometimes used as a ice breaker) is to use images. The manager would ask one person to describe the image only they can see and have everybody else draw what they think it is.

This is a similar approach to the card style games used in coaching. In coaching images are often used to help explore how somebody is feeling when they may not initially want to open up. As a professional coach, you have access to a range of virtual and printed card games like this that really help clients open up and express thoughts and feelings they may be struggling to articulate.

A manager or team leader may also tap into this type of fun activity in their 121 sessions and use images to help get the conversation started. So dust off your more creative coaching skills and show how powerful games can be when a manager or team leader wants to connect and build team cohesion.


Further reading:

If you would like to add some fun into your coaching sessions with managers or team leaders and show them how visual games can get the conversation started, check out this card game in our online shop:

Card Game – Animal ID : Let your behaviors speak – With 90 large-format printed cards and a 36 page booklet, for use with individual or group coaching to help your clients discover their Totem animal and explore their behaviors.


We also have other card games available for you to use in your coaching sessions:


We constantly add content to the site, so please check our on-line shop and look at the full range of games, ebooks and kits. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.


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