Employers regularly work to foster a sense of belonging or team spirit, but they also make three big mistakes that can have the reverse effect.
For our ancestors, it was beneficial to hold an “us vs. them” perspective. By focusing on their own tribes, families, or communities, they ensured that their kin would be more likely to survive. So our brains are still hardwired to classify people into “us vs. them” based on the tiniest of cues.
For example, if you are assigned to wear a red shirt and another team is assigned to wear blue shirts, your perceptions of who is “us” and who is “them” begin to change. The same thing happens if you are assigned to a position of authority, or even if you are assigned to a group based on the way you count dots. Suddenly, you will begin to maximize gain for members of your group and minimize gain for members of the other group.