The concept of organizational cohesiveness is recognized in the military as a factor that makes or breaks unit effectiveness.
Military leaders have long recognized that when cohesiveness breaks down and is left unaddressed, the unit’s ability to perform is not simply diminished but ultimately destroyed. The same concept applies to organizations. Cohesiveness Is the Fruit of Effective Leadership.
Organizational cohesiveness is achieved when all members of the organization have reached the point where they are working closely together as a single unit toward the accomplishment of mutual goals and objectives without regard to personal agendas and attitudes.
By establishing trust leaders take a diverse collection of individuals and blend them into an efficient working unit. When this occurs, and leaders have built and are nurturing organizational cohesiveness, they will have accomplished their primary goals. This is the most satisfying and beneficial position for leaders to be in.
Leaders build and foster trust not only among their employees and themselves but between all members of the organizational unit. Cohesiveness is established and is reinforced over time because bonds of trust among individual members of the organization are strengthened. Each individual learns how he or she is able to trust the other members in the attainment of individual and organizational goals.
When leaders are able to establish strong organizational cohesiveness, the following elements are found:
When organizational cohesiveness is achieved, leaders see an overall increase in team development. Individual employees are able to work in self-directed groups to tackle specific problems, concerns, and issues that need to be resolved if the organization is to progress and meet its objectives.
In many organizations, this is a major shift in thinking and personal attitudes. Employees and leaders think in terms of the team and organization, replacing their own personal goals and agendas with those of the organization.
It has been recognized that any individual within any company or organization can contribute ideas and insights as to how to improve quality, performance, and productivity in the position they hold.
Yet these individuals are generally reluctant to volunteer this information, primarily because they have not been asked in the past, and have therefore concluded their contributions are unwanted.
When organizational cohesiveness is achieved, many of these barriers are removed and leaders will see an overall increase in individual employee contributions. Since they are motivated by the success of the team or organization, they feel more open to contribute feedback, observations, insights, perspectives, and ideas to assist them.
When this occurs, and more individuals are motivated to personally contribute, a synergy is achieved that amplifies the power of these ideas, increases brainstorming and infuses the organization with new and creative thinking.
A workplace environment that is built on trust and thus fosters organizational cohesiveness also builds empowered employees.
The sense of trust between leaders and employees empowers them to make more independent decisions and work more freely in groups and teams since they are working toward common organizational goals and objectives.
The concepts of trust and empowerment are codependent, feeding, and building upon each other, strengthening over time.
While teamwork, empowerment, and organizational cohesion all require collaboration between leaders and employees as well as among employees, within a cohesive organizational unit, there are levels of cooperation among individuals, departments, vendors, and customers that cannot be minimized.
These levels of cooperation are beyond the scope of individual responsibilities, yet are clearly visible and significantly contribute to the success of the organization. It is noticed by outsiders, helps define the organization, and is the first thing to suffer when organizational cohesiveness is disrupted or destroyed.
Leaders should note this sense of cooperation when they have achieved effective levels of organizational cohesiveness and actively monitor it as an overall indicator of the unit, division, or company health.
Another easily discernible benefit of organizational cohesiveness is the increase in the quality of unit work and individual contributions. The organization has been able to maximize its efficiency, as an increase in overall product or service quality often translates into fewer defective and rejected units. This reduces the time required to rework faulty units and increases the organization’s efficiency and profitability.