Belonging – An Essential Feature Of High Performing Teams


Belonging – An Essential Feature Of High Performing Teams


A lack of cooperation is one of the challenges that frustrates effective teamwork. The absence of a sense of “belonging” goes to the heart of the issue.


As in Algebra, groups apply brackets when conducting their affairs.

The brackets represent both inclusion and exclusion. It indicates that the things within the brackets have something in common that sets them apart from things outside. It also dictates that the things within the brackets should be given similar treatment.

Let’s now take the leap from the abstract to the real live challenge of working cohesively with others.


One common problem in dysfunctional teams is the failure of members to identify with the team. They don’t see themselves as being part of the whole that is bonded by common objectives and shared goals.

The brackets say – there is a bond that ties us together. The on the ground reality is that many speak of their teams in terms of they instead of we.

Another tell-tale sign that the brackets are meaningless in terms of inclusion, is the fact that team successes are not celebrated as personal successes. It is like a disgruntled defender coming home to report that they won the match. From the bench he does not see himself as belonging in the team.

Do a bit of investigative work over the next days and listen carefully to the dialogue of colleagues – your team and other groups. See how often you can detect pride in the accomplishments of the group to which the individual belongs.

In cohesive and functional teams the pride comes from just being a part of the team. Members champion the cause of the team as a whole and each member individually. Team member Jenny’s graduation is ours. In a real sense it might be because we helped so much with her research projects and proof reading her submissions!

That is the spirit that fuels high performing teams and tightly connected groups.

Meanwhile, back in dysfunctional land, Desmond has been like a zombie since he was passed over for the Team Leader role. He might not openly tear down what Martha puts forward but his lack of interest cannot be missed. It is also noticeable that people who were close to Desmond and who felt that he should have got the promotion are also not engaged.  The separation is not only mental as they have now started to eat as a clique in a corner of the lunch room.

This team is on a downward spiral and the impact will soon be evident in their key performance indicators (KPIs).

Unfortunately, it is Martha’s responsibility as Team Leader to solve the problem. She may not have appointed herself but now it is her job to get the best from her team.

She needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with Desmond. She can share that she has observed that he is not the dynamic, vibrant person of three months ago and she would like to discuss the change. She needs to steer clear of even a hint of accusation with respect to his lack of support.

One strategy that might work well for Martha is for her to find some solution – a role, maybe – that helps Desmond to save face and feel better about himself. Could she identify a discrete part of her responsibility and invite him to take charge of it without weakening her authority?

That could produce the benefits of getting Desmond engaged once more while giving her the opportunity to focus on other areas. Of course, if Desmond messes up that would provide grounds for another conversation.

Join me in the Training Magazine and Sales & Marketing Magazine sponsors a live webinar: “Is Your Coaching Truly Effective? Let’s Change That”.  Thu, Jul 06, 2017 at 11AM Pacific / 2PM Eastern

Trevor E S Smith develops high performing teams and certifies leader-coaches using DISCerning Communication techniques. The Success with People Academy is the home of the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC. Hire Smart, Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys, 360 Performance Evaluations and Team Reports using logistics-friendly technology.

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Save Your Marriage From Career Options

Be mindful that the career choices you make may break up your marriage or at least cause your partner to drift apart from you.

The most frequent marriage-threatening career challenge comes from the situation in which the job is all-consuming. Your work allows little or no room for a lot of interaction with your spouse.

If your career sucks up so much of your waking hours that it puts your marriage at risk put this anti-dote into practice and save your marriage.


Men who are at risk in this area are not likely to see this.

Save a marriage and share this with someone who needs it.

Young, Gifted and Christian: Questions and Answers

Young, Gifted and Christian: Questions and Answers



Congratulations on your decision to adopt the Christian lifestyle. You are blessed to have taken the step to follow Christ early in your life.

As a young person in Christ you are likely to have many questions for which you need answers. You have a vision of a bright future but there are some dark clouds in the back of your mind that keep coming into the picture.

Here are five questions that every young Christian must think about and helpful advice about how to deal with them.

1. Will I remain faithful?

Making the decision to become a Christian is the single most important decision that you will make in your life. A feature of human behaviour is that immense doubt and reflection tend to confront us when we make major decisions. This is what marketers recognize as ‘buyer\’s remorse’ and is linked to dissonance theory.

The joy and the excitement of having taken the bold step to become a Christian are accompanied by nagging thoughts about whether you made the right decision. You may recall your ‘For eternity’ response to the question as to how long you will remain faithful. Yet, the glee with which your answer was received suggests that another response is possible. Your faithfulness till death is not guaranteed.

I want to share with you some proven strategies for helping you in living faithfully as a Christian:

Accept the fact that your doubts and fears are not surprising and is a regular occurrence. You are not alone in this and many have overcome those negative thoughts.

Your concerns are genuine and should be heeded. They are there to protect you from overconfidence and complacency.

Win the battle against the negative forces by seeking security in the constant contact with well grounded, mature Christians.

Knowledge drives out fear. Be a faithful student of the Bible and watch your confidence grow.

2. How do I manage relationships with my non-Christian friends and colleagues?

One issue that is sure to bother you is how to deal with your non-Christian friends and colleagues. The degree of difficulty that friends and colleagues present to your Christian walk is dependent on the relationships you had before you became a Christian.

Be assured about one thing. No matter what reactions you get on the surface, all right thinking individuals respect your decision to accept Jesus as Lord of your life. They may not have the courage to follow your example and peer pressure might cause them to jeer and tease. However, deep inside they appreciate your commitment and hold you in high esteem.

They key now is to ensure that they see the difference in how you lead your life. Be a witness to them by living in keeping with Christian principles.

3. Can I still have fun?

Don\’t be surprised if you feel that a decision to become a Christian is a choice to give up fun. Many have the image of a Christian as a very serious-minded individual who has decided to give up happiness.

Be assured that one fruit of the Spirit is JOY. Happy moments and the pleasures of the world are fleeting. Joy is enduring.

Here is some further advice:

3.1 Reflect on your own interests and hobbies. Things that you enjoy doing.

3.2 Seek out Christians that share those interests and work out how you will enjoy wholesome fun together.

3.3 Share with your Christian brethren the fun that can be had in pursuing your interests.

3.4 Open your mind to new opportunities for enjoyment and satisfaction.

4. What if I mess up?

As a Christian you are concerned about your salvation. You are also fully conscious that you are not perfect and that you are not free from sin.

You might even be scared stiff by this quotation from 1 John 3: 6 ‘No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.’

God abhors sin and Christians are required to avoid wilful sinning. With that at the forefront of your mind you can take comfort in this quote from 1 John 1: 9 ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’

It is your attitude to sin that really matters in your Christian journey. True repentance is the answer for those times when you occasionally slip. If you genuinely regret the trespass and commit to doing your best to avoid the error in the future you will be on good grounds.

Study of God\’s word and fellowship with supportive Christians are great strategies for remaining faithful in your Christian walk and moving on to claiming Eternal Life.

5. How can I really know what God wants me to do?

Christians of all ages have to grapple with the question of God\’s Will for their lives on an ongoing basis. You will also be seeking clarity as what is your life\’s purpose and what role you are expected to play in God\’s service.

Today, God speaks to us through His word – the Bible. The surest way to feel comfortable about the choices you make is by diligent study of the Scriptures.

You can also benefit from the advice of wise and spiritually mature Christians.

Take comfort in the fact that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Finally, accept the encouragement of Romans 12:12 ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.’

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About the Author
TrevorESSmith is an author (Success in Marriage – Amazon) and people skills & performance enhancement specialist with the Success with People Academy. He is a hands-on practitioner in the areas of Inter-personal relations, Marketing, Sales, HR and Management. He presents unique perspectives on inter-personal relationships, leadership, team building, customer service, technology & time mastery.