One of the most effective ways to unite a newly formed team is hate. When the right kind of hate is present, nothing can match its ability to create the togetherness, camaraderie and inter-reliance that forges a fantastic team.
Not all hate is created equal in this regard. What you need is the most difficult kind of hate to find. You need broad, reasonable personal hate. When you have this magic ingredient, teams join together inseparably.
Two ingredients in this recipe are the hardest to find. First the reasonable reason to hate. And secondly the personal target of the hate.
I’ll take them out of order. First of all the target has to be a person. People can hate abstract things but it’s a lot harder. To give hate a fighting chance you need to pick as the target someone close enough who has no ability to appreciate the consequences of their action, and will thus inadvertently keep stoking the flames. A member of the team is ideal. An immediate superior is useful. Or an individual in another organisation. The worst choice is an external organisation itself. If you have to pick an external organisation try and find one who’s monolithic enough to give the illusion of ever-presence.
Even if you’ve succeed in picking a nearby human, hating a person with sufficient intensity isn’t easy. We tend to be cautious, hurt, offended, sensitive, weary – and a host of other emotions besides – before we can really hate. Which is sensible because hate takes up a lot of emotional energy. People will avoid a person, build artificial barriers, make them someone elses’s problem etc before they will knuckle down to breeding hate.
All of these avoidance tricks can be nullified by requiring the team to work together.
The next element is a reasonable basis for the hate. Reasonable people, normal people, most people – need a reason to hate. They won’t hate capriciously. They’re not conditioned to behave that way. So there needs to be a reasonable reason to hate. Usually the properly selected person will help by providing multiple reasons (one will never do). They will act sufficiently different from the group. They may chose to break the implied social contract that helps the group cohere. They may chose to ignore the other members of the group. Or they may chose to patronise and insult them on a continuing basis. All of these are sufficient, if carefully stoked, to flame up into reasonable hate.
With both elements present, hatred is now inevitable.
Sometimes though, the pot does need to be judiciously stirred before hatred catches. Don’t worry, all you need to do is wait for the first few sessions of therapeutic bitching. Individual members will vent their reasonable grievances. The other members of the team will share these wrongs with each other. Hopefully, one of the wronged individuals is an otherwise popular likable member of the team who is doing their fair share of the work. This will dramatically enhance the level of group empathy for the perceived victim and increase their dislike of the hated person who is doing these awful things to such a nice person.
This is a powder keg situation. With enough time and careful nurturing, you will have enduring passionate hatred build up. It will burst into a bright flame that will keep the other members of the team committed and hard working. They will literally give it everything to avoid being like the person they hate, who they will perceive, as lazy, stupid and difficult.
Consequently, you will get a functioning, hard working and committed team. At this point the hated target can be ditched. He has served his purpose of team building. The team is ready.