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“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.
Patrick Lencioni

Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team – A Model to Enhance& Sustain Team Performance

There was a time when people lived on their taxes. Everyone did their thing. Life was passing, but some things would have been better, and some would have been enough. Gradually human beings came to realize that not everyone can do everything well, so, it is better to let the one are capable of producing error-free products in less time, thus the process of specialization took place. Then, as the technical nature of the work increased, the same work began to be divided into different phases, and people started working in teams. Although this process increased the speed and productivity, t at the same time, other problems began to arise, such as if all the members of the team do not work at the same speed or quality, the product will not be up to the required standard. With the growing industrialization, these issues increased but it became severe when different generations started working together. One more important development was the evolution of the service sector where the organization is offering an intangible product to its customer.

As soon as these issues started arising, the management gurus started searching the ways to overcome and ensuring the same level of productivity. So many books have been written on this topic, countless training programs, learning activities, seminars, discussion been conducted, and it is continued.

In his famous book “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” Mr. Patrick Lencioni presented a model to overcome these issues after several years of research and practical experiences. The model offered a useful legend to create a team performing a task like a single person and to which he has given the name “Cohesive Team”.

He explained that any team can be converted into a cohesive team by simply working and enhancing a few behaviors. He presented a spontaneous framework that is easy to understand in nature and making a lot of sense. As per his presented research, it is evident that teamwork becomes usually very challenging in large organizations and one or more of the presented five behaviors named dysfunctions are commonly the root cause, and if these behaviors can be overcome it will be called “Five behaviors of a cohesive team”. These behaviors are:
1. Trust
2. Conflict
3. Commitment
4. Accountability and
5. Results

Behavior 1, Trust:

Trust is the foundation for all high performing, achieving, and agile teams or as mentioned by Mr. Lencioni “Cohesive Team”. In the absence of trust, achieving a high level of teamwork and team targets are impossible and if a team will achieve these targets by any means it will not be sustainable. Lack of trust leading towards personal clash, hiding things especially the mistakes, antipathy to communicate with other team members. We all have personal agendas and lack of trust igniting suspiciousness about the personal agenda’s of other team members. This situation becomes very risky for a team especially when has foreseen a potential failure to achieve the targets but under this behavior is not telling others. Building confidence among the team members that they can be open to each other or as mentioned by Mr. Lencioni as “vulnerable” with each of the team members with a notion in their minds that their colleagues have good intentions. This can be achieved, over time with cautious efforts.

Behavior 2, Conflict:

It is always good to have positive conflict among teams. It is not only helps to discuss the issues and solutions from a different prospective but also creating buy inn by the team members. But to have positive conflict, a team must have strong trust among the members. Absence of trust is reflecting the situation where either the team members are showing artificial harmony, they don’t engage in any conflict and always showing their gratitude about the presented ideas or issues or they are extremely on the other side where they are involved in really awful, ugly, mean spirited personal attacks on each other. Both of these extremes are not health for the teams and individuals. The artificial harmony shows that the team members are under any fear of having conflicted discussion and that why reluctant to confront each other, hiding their feelings which is stopping them to be engaged in constructive conflict and debate or conflicted debate. When this happens, is shows destructive and erodes trust. Team will not be able t generate ideas or to evaluate the shared ideas, issues will remain unresolved and difficult discussion is avoided.

Behavior 3, Commitment:

As mentioned above, the absence of trust will lead the team to avoid conflict, sharing, and evaluating ideas resulting in unsolved issues also when the people team members will remain unsaid, they will never be committed to the decisions been taken and the responsibilities been assigned. Ultimately the team will not be able to achieve the set targets or if it will achieve these targets, it will not be possible to sustain this edge in the future. Commitment is the key to execute a plan. Teams can work effectively when each and every member clearly understands and accepts the team’s targets, decisions, and responsibilities from the heart. In the absence of commitment, efforts will remain unfocused and likely to undermine effective teamwork. The cohesive teams make timely and difficult decisions to achieve the targets and that’s how maintaining the momentum.

Behavior 4, Accountability:

When team members are not aligned with the decisions taken, not comfortable to raise their voice in other words not committed, their efforts will not be focused, lack of enthusiasm and they would not feel accountable for their actions. It will result in blame-shifting, personal clashes, focusing on their personal targets rather than teams. Cohesive teams rely on each member’s accountability and self-regulate their standards of behavior.

Behavior 5, Results:

As mentioned above, members in a dysfunctional team always giving priority to their personal targets or agendas rather than the teams. A lack of clarity about the team targets, responsibilities, and accountability certainly making it hard to get important things done as per the agreement. Effective teams or as mentioned by Mr. Lencioni the cohesive teams keeping the focus and efforts on the collective goals of the team rather than the individual.














Saqib Mansoor Ahmed, Author is a seasoned HR professional with over 24 years of diversified experience in Financial Services, Shipping, Education, Pharmaceutical, Material Recycling (furious and non-furious), FMCG (Dairy & Food), and Information Technology (Mobile, Branchless, e-Baking, and e-Govt.) in leading roles both locally and internationally.
As an Integrated Management Systems Certification Lead Auditor, he is been representing an international certification body, has conducted dozens of audits which helped him to gain exposure to the industries he has not worked with directly.
Currently, he is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia associated with a Semi Govt. IT Firm as Learning & Development Architect (Advisor) mainly responsible for Organizational, Talent, and Future Leadership Development Initiatives based upon the business strategy, Technical Training Roadmaps, Coaching, etc.














Disclaimer: The content of this article is for information only and is not offered as an advice. Readers are encouraged to consult a suitably qualified professional adviser to obtain advice tailored to their specific requirement.
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