Building a cohesive team takes effort, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. In fact, keeping it simple is key. Based on the best-selling book, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni, this blog post will give you a practical guide to improving your team’s output. 

To put it simply, a cohesive team should master five defined behaviours:

1. ‘Building trust’
2. ‘Mastering conflict’
3. ‘Achieving commitment’
4. ‘Embracing accountability’
5. ‘Focusing on results’

Each behaviour builds on the previous one, so do not address a behaviour in isolation. If you embrace accountability without having first mastered conflict, you won’t be building a high-functioning team. The behaviours are listed in that order for a reason: we’re working with an interrelated model. Neglecting even one can set the whole process off-course.

Building trust

When team members are genuinely transparent and honest with one another, they are able to build vulnerability-based trust.

The word ‘trust’ is so commonly used that it may be interpreted differently by different people. For the sake of this exercise, trust means a willingness to be completely vulnerable with one’s teammate. At the same time, it means a person has confidence in their peers’ intentions. Free people from the fear of ill-intention and you’ll start to see creative thought in action. Which brings us on to the next behaviour…

Mastering conflict

Where there is trust, team members feel empowered and can, therefore, engage constructively in an unfiltered debate of ideas.

Knowing that the person who debates an idea with you has good intentions frees team members from the fear of feeling attacked. Without the fear element, conflict is suddenly a source of creativity, boundary-pushing and innovation.

Achieving commitment

When team members are able to offer opinions and debate ideas, a solution or plan of action feels like a group effort. Everyone has had their input and everyone ‘owns’ it. Each individual will be more likely to commit to a decision if it has been made together.

Embracing accountability

At this point in the model, everyone is committed to a clear plan of action. As a result, they will be more willing to hold one another accountable for their individual and group responsibilities.

Focusing on results

To quote Lencioni, ‘The ultimate goal of building greater trust, healthy conflict, commitment and accountability is one thing: the achievement of results.’

By mastering these five behaviours, you can work your way towards a high-functioning, truly exceptional team structure. Enjoy – you and your team are about to embark on a challenging, enlightening journey!

To learn more about effective teamwork and leadership skills, visit The Anthony Gregg Partnership’s website.

team meeting by woodleywonderworks licensed under Creative commons 4