What Makes a Good Team? Part Two: Unity

There is no perfect team. But there is a recipe for success – many similar characteristics shared by effective teams, independent of industry or function. Throughout this blog series, we will take a closer look at each of these characteristics, explore why each is important, and provide you with ways to instill and improve each characteristic within your own team.

Part Two: Many Voices, But One Message

American poet Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” But what exactly is unity and how do you ensure your team, whether a sports team or group of coworkers, is united?

What is Unity and Why is it Important?



uni·ty ˈyü-nə-tē

  1. The state of being in full agreement
  2. The quality or state of not being multiple
  3. A condition of harmony
  4. The quality or state of being made one
  5. A totality of related parts:  an entity that is a complex or systematic whole

With any team, unity or teamwork is important. It is what allows a team to run like a well-oiled machine and achieve success. As the title of this section says, “Many Voices, But One Message.” Without such unity, your team – ANY team – is doomed for failure. This is perhaps never more important than in the workplace, where you throw a group of unrelated individuals together and expect them to easily communicate and work together to achieve a common goal. In fact, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration for workplace failures. So, it is up to senior leadership to breed unity, encourage collaboration, and ensure the team works together and not against itself.

How to Encourage Unity

As Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.” But how do you get everyone on the same page, working together?

  • Clearly Define Goals: It is important that every member of the team knows and understands the company’s goals. Without a clearly-defined finish line and plan to reach that finish line, everyone will ultimately run in different directions.
  • Clearly Define Roles: It is also incredibly important that everyone knows their place within the team. As the old saying goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” similarly, in the workplace, too many leaders – too many voices – slow the process, lead to missed deadlines, unproductive behavior, errors, and ultimately failure.
  • Choose Strong Leadership: Poor leadership prevents teams from coming together and realizing their full potential. So, it is of the utmost importance that managers, as well as team and project leaders, are chosen carefully, according to their strengths and abilities to motivate others.
  • Reward Success: Along the way, you should let your team know how they are doing by rewarding teamwork and unity – send a congratulatory email, buy your employees breakfast, plan a team happy hour. There are numerous fun and creative ways to reward your team and let them know you appreciate their hard work.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Unity is also achieved by listening and being open to other points of view. Dissenting opinions during the brainstorming process creates buy in by team members even if the selected path is different than what an individual suggested. Allowing people to share their points of view also fosters better decision making and avoids “group think.”
  • Work at It: Finally, teamwork – unity – takes practice. And, sometimes, it is best to get out of the office to improve in-office productivity.

Unity Takes Work

“You don’t get unity by ignoring the questions that have to be faced.” – Jay Weatherill

This is where Terrapin Adventures comes in. We will give your employees a crash course in teamwork. Our team building activities allow people to play different roles within the team to work out solutions for certain challenges, like the below activity.

The King’s Finger

In this challenge, the team works together to get a tire over a wooden pole. In order to do this, at least one person needs to be lifted into the air with the tire while the rest of the team works together to guide and spot the person/people in the air. This fun team building exercise helps promote communication, problem solving, and, of course, teamwork.

How will your team handle this challenge? Will they work together and succeed or will they struggle to cooperate? Who will take on leadership roles?

After the exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind what they just did. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

Physical Activity: Medium to Hard

Equipment: Pole, Tire

The King’s Finger is just one example of the many different team building exercises that Terrapin Adventures uses to help your team reach their full potential. Each of our team building exercises is fun but challenging, designed to make your employees stop, think, communicate, adjust their plan of action on the fly, and ultimately fail once or twice before succeeding. Get in touch with a Guest Relations Specialist today and ask about how we can help you plan your team building event.

How Terrapin Adventures Can Help Your Team Build Unity

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Schedule a Session

Works Cited:

  1. “THE IMPORTANCE OF UNITY IN TEAM SUCCESS.” Addocura. N.p., 4 Nov. 2015. Web.
  2. Glaze, Sean. “Two Main Ingredients That Create Team Unity.” Two Main Ingredients That Create Team Unity. Association for Talent Development, 30 July 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 201
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