Work Tribes

For decades, researchers have tried to figure out ways to sustain a team’s performance, satisfaction, and well-being for each member. Shawn Murphy’s book, Work Tribes: The Surprising Breakthrough Performance, Astonishing Results and Keeping Teams Together, seems to have found an essential key to this quandary: BELONGING!

American psychologist Abraham Maslow included belonging on his hierarchy of needs in research dating back to 1943. However, no significant attention was paid to belonging up until recent years. Our society is observing major corporations like Airbnb and LinkedIn begin to create jobs and metrics solely focused on maintaining a sense of belonging in employees in order to sustain an organization.

But how can belonging be maintained? In his book, Murphy recognizes that other vital components help with “astonishing results” to shape  the experience of belonging at work, which he calls “Tribal Knowledge.” But as Murphy claims, the responsibility to use this knowledge is not just on the leader, but also the individual and overall team.  Here are some of the components shared:

  • The individual and team must have a purpose
  • An individual’s ambition helps motivate them
  • Leaders should be constantly aware of their team and its members
  • There needs to be a commitment from the team and individuals
  • An individual should be allowed to be curious
  • The feeling of being fairly compensated
  • Cultivating a growth mindset in the office

Murphy shares that in writing this book, he hopes it serves as a nudge for leaders at any level to pursue the responsibility of connecting with what makes us human and most importantly, understanding how to make team members feel they belong. In his book, he outlines five advantages to creating belonging in individuals, teams, and across the organization:

  • Performance increases at the individual, team, and organizational levels
  • Employees’ motivation is more sustained 
  • Employees’ well-being improves
  • The experience of work is more fulfilling
  • Teams become more cohesive

Our team at Fisher suggests this addition to your must-read leadership book list! With its relevant focus on the changing expectations of our professional environments, the research as well as the examples provided in this book are effective in showcasing the value of belongingness in our modern society, and how you can pursue it.

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