Teamship – The Link Between Workplace Dynamics and Sitcoms

Olivia Taylor explores the link between workplace dynamics and sitcoms: Teamship

At KultraLab, we’ve been conducting our global study ‘The Secret DNA of High-Performing Teams’. This has involved us working closely with various consumer-facing organisations, interviewing their people and observing their teams in situ to understand the everyday behaviours, actions and values of customer-facing teams.

We’re on a mission to understand what creates ‘high-performance’ culture. We’re wrapping our head around so much fascinating insight at the moment, so we wanted to give you a glimpse into some of the emerging themes.

A glimpse into one of our key emerging insights – Teamship

What’s really shining through is that high-performing teams are excellent at building ‘Teamship’. They purposefully curate opportunities to facilitate quality team interaction, cohesiveness and shared success. High-performing managers act as a mood barometer, able to assess when the mood is low and when they should inject positivity into their work environment. Interestingly too, high-performing teams know how to laugh together and how to support
each other in challenging times.

Laughter may be the best medicine

In the world of workplace dynamics, fostering a strong and authentic sense of teamwork is often a delicate dance, but essential for creating true engagement during the high times and resilience during the low times. To bring this to life, enter the unexpected hero in this narrative: the humble comedy sitcom. Beyond their primary goal of making us laugh, these shows possess an innate ability to weave a subtle but powerful thread of teamship among their characters – a quality that translates seamlessly into the real-world dynamics of collaborative environments.

Consider the camaraderie on display in iconic sitcoms like Friends or Schitt’s Creek. The characters navigate through the ups and downs of life, sharing laughter, triumphs, and even the occasional calamity. In doing so, they inadvertently showcase the principles of effective teamwork: communication, mutual support, and the ability to find
humour even in challenging situations. They strike a wonderful balance between levity and a sincere acknowledgment of critical issues.

Comedy sitcoms teach us the value of shared experiences. Much like a well-knit team, the characters in these shows face diverse challenges together, learning, growing, and evolving as a unit. The humour becomes a bonding agent, connecting characters and, by extension, audiences. Similarly, in workplaces, shared laughter, difficulties and experiences can create a sense of unity among team members, breaking down barriers and creating a collaborative spirit.

Just as characters adapt to unexpected twists and turns, effective teams must navigate unforeseen challenges. The ability to find humour in the face of adversity, a skill mastered by sitcom characters, can be a powerful tool for fostering resilience and a positive team culture.

So what?

The world of comedy sitcoms offers more than just laughter – it provides a blueprint for effective teamship. We know laughter and fun are good for us. That said, injecting fun into the work environment is not just about ping pong tables and casual Fridays; it’s about building a culture that recognises the humanity behind every employee.

Perhaps one answer lies in embracing the lessons from the world of sitcoms and promoting a culture where joy and collaboration coexist seamlessly. How can we bring more of that into the workplace when it’s most needed?

That’s part of what our high-performance research seeks to shed light on. We’re unravelling tangible behaviours, rich stories, experiences and cultural nuances through our conversations with a diverse array of employees. It’s their unique narratives which contribute to the rich tapestry of high-performance culture within each of our research partners.

To read more articles from the High-Performance Playbook, click here.