The Happiness Guy: The Key to Great Teams

Who is the most important person on a team? If you follow sports, you know commentators will often talk about the “glue guys” or “glue gals” who hold their teams together in the midst of challenge and are largely responsible for their triumphs. Sometimes it’s even the injured quarterback sitting on the sidelines. The same holds true as we create wins at work.

Researchers at the Yale School of Management found that the social cohesion within a team is more predictive of profit and success than the number of years of experience and the collective IQ of the team. And some people’s strength is being the glue at work.

So keep the water cooler full and the coffee warm! In my research, we found that the more face-to-face socializing team members engage in, the more energy and focus they have to complete tasks.

Not surprisingly, a number of forward-thinking corporations I work with such as Google and Nationwide have set up programs to encourage socializing and, going even further, to help out colleagues in dire medical or financial straits.

The enhanced feeling of community translates to lower absenteeism and turnover as well as increased motivation. But defined policies aren’t always necessary to generate these results. Just make sure to appreciate the “glue guys” and “glue gals” in your workplace.

Are there people on your team who bring bagels on Friday for everyone to enjoy together, who bond the team with funny stories or organize the group happy hour once a month? If not, maybe you’ll decide to step up and be the glue guy today.


Shawn Achor is a Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Get a daily dose of happy at Shawn's Facebook page.

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