Some of the things I am sharing may SURPRISE you.  In fact, if you find yourself sitting in front of your computer or holding your smart phone in your hand while your mouth is agape – it’s okay – I used to do the same at what you are about to read.

Sign #1: ARGUING.  Yep.  It’s true!  Cohesive teams have arguments – perhaps lots of them.  Why?  When members trust each other, they feel safe to share their opinions.  They are comforted with the fact they will not suffer repercussions when they disagree.

Sign #2: OFF TOPIC.  Expect cohesive teams to spend some time going off topic to socialize – they will talk about family, pets, vacations, movies, music and so on.  One of the reasons they are cohesive is because they get to know one another beyond performing work tasks.  They are able to balance the social and task aspects of their work.  Through socializing they connect and build trust.

Sign #3: NAME CALLING.  Nicknames that is.  Cohesive teams often engage in creating team identities, or team fantasies.  It is not unusual to coin phrases, have inside jokes, or assign nicknames.  For a cohesive team it is a display of affection and a proud mark of their history together.

Sign #4: TENSION. The offspring of arguing is tension.  Cohesive teams will feel tension as members of the team voice opinions – it’s normal.  Keep in mind, just because members like and respect each other doesn’t mean they like to be told they are wrong.  Tension can also be felt when members come and go and are replaced.  Like a wildcat, cohesive teams will protect what is near and dear to them, whether it is their team identity, vision, roles, ideas, stories etc.

Sign #5: INDIVIDUALISM.  Cohesive teams promote and recognize individual contributions.  Members are happy to offer kudos and give a slap on the back when a particular member succeeds or rises to the occasion.  Recognizing individual efforts is a sort of an act of checks and balances.

*Note:  If any of the above are prolonged or extreme they may be signs that a team is lacking cohesion.  If arguing, going off topic, name calling, tension, or individualized agendas prevent the team from completing tasks, a mediator may be necessary (if the team is unable to self-correct).