Team spirit: what causes it?
Looking at the matches in the FIFA World Cup, I notice that the national lineups seem to differ in terms of team spirit. You may be wondering why this matters. Why is team spirit important? What does it bring about? And what hinders it?
Sweden’s team spirit
After knocking out very good teams, the Netherlands and Italy, in qualifying, Sweden played its part by sending defending champions Germany home early by surpassing Group F. They lack individual talented players, but as a team with a collective spirit, they have got heart and will rise to the challenge. They do well through determination and organization.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller, deaf/blind political activist)
In keeping with his no-nonsense team, the manager hadn’t picked Sweden’s all-time top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Many of the player’s former fans didn’t like the way he talked about himself, which they thought was typical of him.
As a team, we play as a collective, all players together. As a person and as a player, he is an individualist, and the game revolves around him. Instead, now we play the whole team all together. ” (goalkeeper, Karl-Johan Johnsson).
Each player has accepted the idea of working hard for each other and having fun together as a larger group off the field.
Leicester City’s team spirit Leicester City, which won the English Premier League, is another football team whose achievements are beyond the sum of their parts.
Leicester had some good players, but when we look at the whole squad and compare it to the so-called ‘top’ clubs, it’s easy to see why it took them such a long time to win the title. ”
You may have the largest group of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club isn’t worth a cent.” (Babe Ruth, baseball player)
Experts saw the players’ sense of team identity as a crucial factor in their success. The team knew the manager would be there next season. He held on to most of the first team players he inherited. This continuity built on the club’s legacy, another cornerstone of a strong team identity.
Team spirit was also helped by the players’ seeing the club’s goal (i.e. avoiding relegation) as one they could achieve. So there was no fear of failure.
Many technical parties defend by making many safe passes and thus not letting the opponent have the ball. However, possession is a poor predictor of team performance. City were not afraid to make three misplaced passes if the fourth move led to a goal. Team members felt positive and proud to be part of a group that played a successful, fast-counter-attacking football brand.
Other soccer teams Soccer boys
must selflessly learn to pass the ball instead of dribbling past opponent after opponent until they lose the ball. They have to be team players and not just individualists. Some skilled, mature players have been pushed to win at the expense of working together when it was needed.
Professional football teams in England include highly regarded players from other countries. These tend to have different languages, cultures, values, and problem-solving approaches to difficulties. This can hinder the growth of team spirit.
Most football managers realise that team spirit can be hindered by publicly criticising players. However, leaders differ in their team-building skills.
Without an emerging team spirit within a trade union, labour disputes would fail. Unity is strength. Members must identify with the cause and trust each other to sacrifice short-term income. Then they have the chance to negotiate with strength and get better working conditions and wages in the future.
Employee morale is important in all walks of life. For example, in many organisations dealing with human issues and personal change—such as education, health and social services, or those dealing with spirituality—team spirit can be vulnerable when faced with hard-to-reach customers.
Many of these organisations use teams of employees with different types of professional training who may not agree with each other. Dealing with complex and highly personal matters raises questions of a deeply principled nature. This can mean that people are unwilling to change the way they approach things, leading to a degree of inflexibility. Leaders can help by encouraging team building through giving and receiving support, communication, and sharing. Without it, mixed groups tend to exhibit both disharmony and cooperation.
“Teamwork starts with building trust. And the only way to do that is by overcoming our need for invulnerability. ” (Patrick Lencioni, business management writer)
Unpaid volunteers tend to perform their duties on their own terms. When volunteers only work a few hours a week, it’s hard for them to feel like a team because they don’t have much time to get together and talk about how to solve problems.
When we make friends, we usually do it with people who share our interests and values. They often make us feel at home and free to be ourselves. It may be difficult to imagine such an atmosphere where there is a sense of community. Emanuel Swedenborg painted such a picture of a heavenly community. In such a scenario, there are no fights about how things are done. There are no egos who want to have their own way. People who come together in the right spirit. want only the best for each other and for the team and the community as a whole.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things with great love, and together we can do something great. ” (Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun)
A clinical psychologist, Stephen Russell-Lacy specialises in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, having spent years working with adults who suffer from anxiety and other disorders.
He edits Spiritual Questions, a free ezine that explores connections between spiritual philosophy and the comments and questions of spiritual seekers. You can share your thoughts and learn more about the meaning of life.
His eBook Heart, Head, and Hands makes connections between the psycho-spiritual teachings of the eighteenth-century spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg and current ideas in therapy and psychology.