Teams and Social Relationships – Does this affect project success?

I was listening to a lecture on virtual teamwork a few weeks ago and something that was mentioned in the podcast stuck with me. I made a note at the time to explore this in more depth (which is why I’m only just getting around to it now).

It was suggested that getting to know your teammates/colleagues when working on a collaborative project, can impact the comradery and success of a project. The reasoning behind this is down to investment – this quote sums it up quite nicely:

“Relationships are critical for virtual team functioning because they foster mutual support and cohesion within a team, both of which are essential for teamwork” (Kahai 2018)

I suppose what got me thinking is that all teams (virtual or non-virtual) benefit from this. If I look at all the projects I have worked on, past and present, I would say that the projects that were more successful, were definitely the ones where I socially engaged with my colleagues. Social interaction varies from going out on a Friday after work for a drink, or going away on teambuilding days. It builds repport and unifies the team. It can help to solidify the idea that you’re all working towards a common goal.

Looking at the collaboration project I am working on for university, the initial Skype meeting I had with the team helped to build repport amongst our group. It was a shame that we weren’t able to get members from the American team or French team to join, as I think this would have helped to build a stronger team. It would have been nice to put faces to names (or voices to text!) too. I suppose I don’t really speak to my team members on a personal level too much at the moment, which is a shame, but I guess it shows that even the slightest bit of personal, social interaction has an impact on a team.

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