Most gelled teams have a sense of camaraderie that makes them joke together, get coffee, share lunch, and feel friendly toward one another. They may have obligations they respect, and passions outside of work, but they don’t view their team as something they’re eager to escape every day. The real goal here is psychological safety that is, a team whose members are willing to take risks and make mistakes in front of one another. This is the underpinning of a successful team. The work of gelling a team begins by creating the friendliness that leads to psychological safety. You can encourage this by taking the time to get to know people as human beings and asking them about their extracurricular lives and interests. Let them share what they feel comfortable sharing. Ask how their child’s birthday party went, how their ski trip was, how their marathon training is going. This is more than empty small talk; it fosters relatedness, the sense of people as individuals and not just anonymous cogs.
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