Team Chemistry: That Elusive, Crucial, Necessary “Spark”

One of the best parts of working at Centennial is our wonderful internship program.  I am always amazed by these shining stars.  They are on the cutting edge of research and frequently have refreshing, valuable, unbiased insights since it is early in their careers. We learn so much from them in our short time together.

Christiana Fasola-Team Chemistry

Christiana Fasola

Christiana Fasola was a recent intern.  Christiana was in a second year masters degree candidate in Xavier University’s Industrial and Organizational Psychology program. In her studies, Christiana has researched the importance of chemistry and how it applies to both relationships and teams.  In her work with us, Christiana helped craft our Client CEO Symposium on “Building Teams with Chemistry,” assisted in the development of a proprietary tool we share with clients that enhances team chemistry, and compiled research for us that will help us better align clients and candidates.

Before she left, we asked Christiana if she would “formally” share some of her thoughts on chemistry so we could share them with our readers.  Christiana’s insights are in italics, below.

…On Team Chemistry

by Christiana Fasola

Sometimes you meet someone and automatically have a gut feeling that your personalities will not mesh. Other times, you instantly have a connection– almost as if you’ve known the person your entire life. Remember the very first best friend you ever had? If you were to describe that relationship, words like understanding, bond, and compatibility might come to mind. This relationship was refreshing and attractive. Your brain actually released a chemical, dopamine, that reinforced those feelings and helped cement the relationship. This sense of familiarity and connection that took place in that friendship was experienced again in your romantic relationships, and perhaps on athletic or workplace teams. The best term to describe this unexplainable bond between people is chemistry.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, chemistry is an interaction between people working together; specifically:  such interaction when harmonious or effective. The key words that accurately describe chemistry are “attraction” and “effective.” This special ingredient makes up a perfect and important component in the workplace. Without this harmonious or effective connection, it may be hard to produce meaningful and unbelievably good work.

When chemistry is not present, it can be difficult to develop an effective “talent attraction” or relationship with someone, especially a job candidate. During an interview, a candidate may have all the qualifications needed for an open position, but very little chemistry with the interviewer or the organization. Employers may be a little reluctant to hire candidates who do not bring that “special spark” to the interview process. Or, when chemistry is lacking, candidates might simply might be forgotten during the process. On the other hand, candidates with “the spark” are more likely to be remembered (and hired!) when narrowing down the talent pool.

Not only is chemistry essential during the hiring process, it’s also important when formulating workplace teams. Chemistry makes workplace teams more effective (there’s that word again.) Chemistry increases team productivity and work satisfaction. These benefits include increased productivity and satisfaction in work teams (Campion and Higgs, 1995 ). Chemistry maximizes team efforts –regardless of the apparent differences in skills, educational background, and personalities (Salas et al., 2000 ).

Chemistry is a vital part  of any relationship, and can revolutionize a workplace. The most memorable and rewarding relationships will have a significant amount of chemistry. Once chemistry is found, it is important to nurture it, because it can dissipate over time without attention.

Christiana, thank you for your hard work and dedication.  We appreciated your contributions, but most of all, we appreciated you!


What are you doing to build team chemistry among your team?


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