Sense the atmosphere in the team

Facilitators and coaches working with the team-effectiveness canvas need to be able to sense the atmosphere in the team. This is, naturally, very volatile, because it is something that changes very often. Sometimes the changes are tiny, happen fast and are hardly noticeable, sometimes they are as big as an arising conflict and need more time to work with.

The concept of the “atmosphere” is not just about visible elements, but also about hidden agendas, elephants in the room etc.

A team with a strong sense of its own atmosphere can overcome challenges and obstacles more effectively. As an example it can help the team sense conflicting situations before they escalate and resolve the issue. It can also make the team aware of small achievements, celebrate small things and create in general a more appreciative atmosphere that boosts collaboration and problem solving conditions.

Team spirit can be elaborated in multiple dimensions. It can be summarised in a few words (e.g. diversity, willingness to help each other, tension, playfulness), an expression of the individual’s feelings (e.g. how does it feel to work together), a metaphor (e.g. it is cloudy today).

Addressing the atmosphere

Creating sensitivity and awareness about this is what helps the group to grow together. It is something the team can easily practice on a daily basis, but also go deeper during longer retrospectives and reflection sessions.

Questions you may ask

On a “daily” basis to create awareness about Team spirit:

  • How is the weather in the team today?
  • What could be a hashtag for the general mood “today”?
  • What is a single word for the motto of the week?

Reflecting the answer to the question back to the group is a very powerful thing to do. For example you can ask the next question:

  • What is the impact of the weather on our work?
  • Is there anything anyone can do to improve the weather?

Another example in the case of a specific situation in the team:

  • What is happening right now? How is this affecting our work together?
  • Can we do more of this? Should we do less of it?


  • There can be more than one mood in the room. That is ok. (Have a look at the image)
  • The team does not need to come to a conclusion or an agreement on the right words or description. Each person has a voice that matters and the collection of all these voices on the area board represents the current situation.
  • Collect all the answers and do not forget any team members. Everyone should contribute.
  • Try to give each team member an equal amount of time to elaborate on its voice. It’s essential to actively listen to everyone’s responses and respond in a way that acknowledges their concerns and ideas.

The team-effectiveness canvas

Browse through the areas and click to get more information about the team-effectiveness canvas.

The team-effectiveness canvas
Team personality Atmosphere Team Strategy Health & Growth Our Roles License Effective decisions Conflict protocol Principles and commitments Structure learnings Smart actions 3 Focus Levels From dreaming to reality Engagement

3 Focus Levels

From dreaming to reality