Team Cohesion

One goal of any leader is to increase team cohesion. Team cohesion “is the degree to which individual members want to contribute to the group's ability to continue as a functioning work unit. Members of cohesive teams have emotional and social bonds that link them to one another and to the group as a whole” ( The best teams have a high level of team cohesion. Such teams have members that like each other, get along, and all “buy into” the team’s goals. However, high team cohesion can be unproductive if all the team members support each other's lazy work ethic and mediocre goals.

One of the reasons why high team cohesion can be beneficial is because it can create a “brotherhood” or “sisterhood” of members that sincerely care for each other and love each other. This can create “combat motivation,” which is one of the strongest motivators. Combat motivation is a military term that refers to doing something not for yourself, but for your loved ones, or your “brothers.” Soldiers may not want to fight because they don’t want to hurt themselves, but they will fight in order to protect their comrades. When social bonds are strong enough, disappointing others becomes more painful than disappointing yourself. This high level of motivation that team cohesion provides is why it should be cultivated by coaches. Team cohesion is also good for happiness. Everyone likes to feel like they belong to something greater than themselves. A cohesive team provides this feeling of belonging and love.

Here are some ways to increase team cohesion:

  • Spend time with each other and get to know each other on a personal level.
  • As a team, talk about shared goals.
  • Go through challenging, memorable, and emotional experiences together. These experiences can come from an grueling training camp, an intense playoff game, or a team bonding camping trip.
  • Simply be good to each other. Don’t start rivalries within the team, cliques, or drama. Try to get along, and have people enjoy your company.