Unity is the keystone that can go a long way toward building trust based relationships and a cooperative culture in your company.

When things are moving forward swimmingly, there is no need to blame and point fingers. It’s when the going gets tough…that’s when everyone’s character is revealed, and that’s especially true for management. A business crisis or a pandemic will reveal the fault lines in an organization clearly.

When the roadblock is hit, how does company leadership respond and subsequently how does each team member respond?

Does leadership instill confidence that the team will surmount the challenge together as one unit or does leadership react, panic, and start blaming departments or individual employees?

This is a key question because the leadership is holding the energy for the group.

Think about a father of a family. If his energy is “off” and his mindset is negative, that negativity will seep into the family unit and will affect everyone in the family. He will bring down the morale of everyone just about instantly, and often without the intention of doing so.

If his energy is “on-point” meaning energized, excited, and confidently directed toward a definite chief aim he will be an inspiration to the group. He will be revered as a rock, a source of certainty for the group. He is the figurehead that has gained respect through giving respect.

Company leadership is no different. The example is set at the top. Everyone wants to work for an inspiring, confident leader and not a bossy boss. Leaders create other leaders. Bosses try to make their employees feel small and subordinate.

Leaders try their best to make every employee, from the C-suite to the janitor feel important and appreciated.

It’s crucial that businesses work to achieve internal unity. The financial incentives of a unified, collaborative workforce are clear. The consulting group Deloitte found that greater team collaboration creates value and saves time. Also, the work that is produced is of a higher quality. Why is this? The team has collectively decided to take ownership in the quality of the work being produced.

People produce great work when they take ownership.

Run your business so that different departments are not just aligned, but integrated. This doesn’t happen simply through meet and greets and putting a beer fridge in the corner. Instead, it takes active efforts, year-round, to create a “one team” mentality. It’s cliche but you do want one team with one dream.

Make sure everyone inside the organization knows each other very well across internal departments. Play with blurring the departmental lines so that your organization can see how others think and process information. People inside your organization involved with production need to know how the product or service is sold. People inside sales need how the product or service is produced. The organization needs to know itself.

Incentivize the group. Each time they operate as one unit, reward the group for doing so. This will condition the group towards unity. The goal is to have the group love each other, and that only happens when leadership truly loves their employees and their company’s mission. If the leadership tries to lead through an iron fist it will create a fearful atmosphere. Garbage in, garbage out and leadership is no different.

The “soft-skills” are the gateway toward management maintaining a spirit of cooperation in the group. It takes a talented leader with empathy to be able to do so because everyone has their own beliefs, perspectives, and ways of looking at business objectives. The group has to trust the leadership at the top and where they are navigating the ship.

When there is an atmosphere of trust, the employees feel psychologically safe to communicate their true opinions, and the thoughts are never attacked. Each thought is brought into the group conscious to analyze and see if there is merit. Each person feels heard and comfortable. Google studied hundreds of their internal teams and they found the #1 factor that led to a group being productive or not was “psychological safety.” When everyone feels heard magic can happen.

One of the top reasons employees leave is because they do not like their leadership and work environment.

If the environment is supportive, tight-knit, and “feels like a family” then magic has been created. It’s a space where people feel good and like coming to each day (and yes this still applies to remote companies because leadership is psychological and a workplace more than ever is a mental space).

If you are in a leadership position, take an audit of this blogpost and discover your areas of improvement. Pause, reflect, and reset your approach so that it’s accommodative, supportive, and compassionate.

The key takeaway is: leadership works for the employees, and not the other way around.