The benefits of music in the workplace: Part 2 – Team-Building
In this series of articles I am looking at the specific benefits that come from using music as a tool in the workplace. We started last week by looking at Communication and how music can serve to break down the social barriers created by the modern workplace. Once the channels for communication are more open, we like to think more specifically about Team-building in our choirs and workshops.
When working with a new choir, very soon into the first term there is a palpable sense that through the rehearsals a huge sense of trust has developed between the choir members. Scientists have discovered that when someone sings, oxytocin is released, alongside serotonin and pheromones – the ‘happy’ chemicals. Oxytocin is often known as the ‘love hormone’ as it is the chemical released during sex; and we do know of a couple who met in their choir at Deloitte who are now married – so at least one of these scientific facts is true!
Something has to happen to induce this chemical change when you sing, and I think the catalyst is the conductor. By understanding the capabilities of each choir member, the conductor encourages a leap of faith that sees each member exceed their own expectations. With each choir member sensing their individual significance and self-belief, they begin to form a collective trust and then experience the satisfaction that being part of a choir can deliver. Through people finding their own voice, and autonomy in one environment, comes a sense of assurance and confidence in one another, all key ingredients for being part of a successful team.
When a team functions efficiently, and to its maximum potential, every single person in the group knows their strengths and knows precisely what their role is. Our choir conductors use their leadership skills to impose responsibility to every singer, so that each person feels like a soloist and takes ownership over the choir. After the first performance, with the addition of adrenalin, this pride and ownership is established and there is a huge sense of achievement that then comes with this.
Of course when teams are pitted against each other their strengths may shine through even more so in 2010 we launched the Office Choir of the Year Competition with nearly 400 London based office workers singing together, and singing against each other in friendly competition. We’ve continued to the run this event over the years, having just crowned the wonderful Deloitte Choir as Office Choir of the Year 2017. This has a huge and powerful impact on people’s minds as they recognise themselves and each of their fellow choir members as an essential parts of a harmonious whole and this mind set is carried over into working life.
Singing with an office choir can deliver all the desired objectives of team-building exercises: improved communication, collaboration, understanding of one’s own and others’ strengths and weaknesses – and because it occurs over a period of months or even years, the benefits are deep and lasting.
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