The Leadership Circle in January 2023: How team rituals foster great teamwork

Do workplace rituals have a positive influence on team cohesion and job motivation? This is the exact question that was presented to participants in the Leadership Circle in January 2023. In this article you’ll see why discussion at Leadership Circle events is worth it for our leadership and how team rituals add to our success.

This is the Leadership Circle at Kaufland e-commerce

We can learn from each other: This applies across departmental boundaries, too. That’s why the Leadership Circle was brought into being. This format offers leaders from junior to senior levels the opportunity to share their experience and start conversations with each other.

Framework and procedure:

Every Leadership Circle starts with a keynote talk about a topic relevant to work: The speaker uses this time to share ideas, experiences, or a best practice case from their workday. To follow up, participants have the chance to discuss the talk in smaller groups and bring in their insights. The sessions take place every two months and last 90 minutes.

The format is supervised by our HR colleague Anne, who puts a great value on inter-departmental exchange:

The special thing about it is that the Leadership Circle was created by managers, for managers. HR is only involved in coordination. It’s great that managers who don’t have any other professional interaction can exchange ideas with each other and can generate new ideas for their own teams. In the future, our goal is to get more managers to be speakers, which will increase the diversity of positive and educational experiences to share. – Anne, Senior HR Project Manager Leadership Development


What exactly are team rituals and how do they improve the sense of “us”?

In the January 2023 Leadership Circle, Vicky and Anna from our Tech & Product department told us what makes team rituals special and why they promote great teamwork. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion between the participants.

What are team rituals?

Rituals are actions that people or groups carry out regularly, following a particular pattern, which the participants imbue with meaning. At the workplace, these might look like after-work events or team meetings. A few examples of rituals we have at Kaufland e-commerce include our monthlies and weeklies.

Rituals encourage communication inside the team and create structure. They also provide a fantastic opportunity for employees to prepare to meet a common goal. For Vicky, team rituals also give teams the chance to build a harmonious working relationship with their colleagues from day one:


Rituals can have a huge influence on the team. We can see the advantages in our team. Relationships are formed and nurtured very early on, which improves how trust is built in a lasting way. – Vicky, Team Lead Information Security

Workplace rituals

  • have a positive influence on team cohesion,
  • improve individual performance and willingness to cooperate,
  • help focus on mutual values and goals,
  • strengthen team members’ mental health by acting as a buffer against stress and anxiety.

Experience report: These rituals work for us

There are so many creative ways to create team rituals. These rituals have the potential to maintain a good, productive working atmosphere or to find solutions for existing problem points.

Here are a few team rituals that have worked well for us:

Weekly team photo

This one needs a touch of creativity: Once a week, the team members take a screenshot in which they’re asked to dress up or to include an item of their choice. After nine weeks, these single photos turn into a funny collage. This ritual encourages colleagues to chat, while guaranteeing a good time and funny memories.

Team beim Teamritual
Teamwork beim Skill Share Fest: Bei diesem Ritual teilten die Mitarbeiter des Data Science-Teams ein persönliches Interesse oder eine Fähigkeit mit ihren Kollegen.
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Pre-onboarding calls

The pre-onboarding calls give new employees the opportunity to get to know their team better before their first day at work. During the calls, they find out which topics are especially important to the team at the moment and also receive further information on the schedule for their first week at work. This is an effective way to reduce nervousness before the first day at work.

I really appreciated my Pre Onboarding Calls because I got a sense of belonging to the team and the company even before the start and I felt more confident on my first day. – Eleonora, Junior Information Security Manager

Annoying things meetings

These meetings give colleagues a chance to address points that frustrate them in their daily work or that are blocking progress on a task – in a safe environment. Team management and colleagues get a chance to find out where their teamwork is going well and where something might need to be changed.

An Annoying Things-meeting is a platform where I can speak whatever I feel during the week in front of my team to create transparency. – Shivani, Junior Information Security Manager