Every team has beliefs and values, and all teams experience conflict on some level. Most teams manage their differences respectfully, while others—with no greater disagreement fail or fragment. Why do some teams manage these differences better than others? (a common sense of purpose & values – that are “bought into”) a glue that bonds the individuals into a team.
With a shared identity and purpose, conflict is not as great a threat. A clear sense of identity and purpose is driven primarily through work processes and common goals set by the leaders, as well as mission and value statements from managers, with verbal reminders and through written vision statements – this helps align the individuals sense of purpose with the organisations sense of purpose http://www.congregationalconsulting.org/the-importance-of-shared-identity-and-purpose/
When there is a shared sense of purpose individuals can clearly tell you why the organisation exists as well as what his or her role within that is. This is where a team may differ from a group of workers with individual objectives.
A team with a common sense of purpose will support each other, have the same end objective, work together, be helpful, be able to rely on others, work collaboratively and as a team. There will be clear goals but there will be individual objectives within that goal. Members will be willing to pitch in with extra work, they will enjoy being part of the team and will feel that they are all working towards a common goal within their own remit. There will also be a common sense of achievement “by the team” when targets are met. This again feeds the team ethic and it continues to grow.
A group that has no common sense of purpose will suffer from lack of cohesion, individuals will have varied (personal) goals that may not lead into the common goal, duplication of work (through lack of communication), lack of direction, poor motivation, lack of structure, these employees will be self-dependent but there will be a lack of support from team members when needed, some will contribute more than others and cliques may appear within the team
The cost of failing to clarify a shared purpose can be high. When we are part of a team that lacks a shared identity and purpose, even the smallest conflicts can become a threat to the integrity of the group. Leaders can be peppered by desperate cries to “address the issues,” even when the infrastructure is not adequate to support such an encounter. These effects can slow work processes and targets can be missed, tension between individuals will affect the ability to produce what is required, work processes can be convoluted and complicated which inevitably slows and stalls the results needed.
Managers can implement one to one meeting, group meetings, project reviews as well as the mission statements noted above to help instill and engrain these values and common purpose into the team.