If you’re like many of the leaders I am working with, you are struggling with how to bring your team back together in a way that is both safe and fosters collaboration. When the going gets tough, in order to build (or rebuild) team unity, I believe focusing first on building a culture of belonging is key.

This is no small feat for the times we find ourselves in! If you are navigating diverse viewpoints on what is safe during the fourth wave of our current pandemic, you are not alone!

When people feel their safety is being put at risk, these dynamics can quickly become highly polarized and charged with strong emotions. How we facilitate this transition back to in-person work can either fan the flames or, if done skillfully, can set the foundation for building a workplace culture where your team thrives.

Ideas for building team unity

Here are three strategies on how to build team unity across these divisions so that you can nurture trust, foster belonging and ignite greater collaboration for a more inclusive workplace as you navigate these times:

Use transparent decision making.

Be clear with your team on how decisions will be made. For example, this might include following public health orders; getting your team’s input; and either you, your senior leadership team, or your board making the final decision.

Invite diverse viewpoints.

Rather than running from conflict, it is important to identify the diverse and divergent viewpoints and then provide opportunities to hear and understand these viewpoints. This might involve creating a survey, having one-to-one meetings or hosting workplace dialogues.

Encourage your team to solve the problem together.

Team Unity - 3 Strategies to Build an Inclusive Culture of Belonging in Your Workplace - workplace issues
I believe the shortest distance between polarized positions is a story. Rather than a top-down, problem-solving approach, I like to invite teams to come up with their own solutions. This might involve identifying the divergent viewpoints and small groups brainstorming solutions they present to the entire team. Take the best ideas from each group and then create something fabulous together.
We'd love to hear how you are navigating and facilitating these dynamics on your team. What strategies are you using to foster a workplace culture of belonging? What is coming up for you? What are you trying? What challenges are you struggling with?

Leave your comments and ideas for team unity below.

For those especially keen, I’d love to invite you to Belonging Matters Conversations For Workplaces.
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About the Author

Jessie Sutherland

An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

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