The Five Steps of Team Health

Once trust and healthy conflict are established on a team, then the team can move to commitment.

Over the past two years, fellow coach Ross Woodstock and I have been using a relatively new training and assessment tool called the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, based on the work of Patrick Lencioni. The model includes these five behaviors:



This first and foundational behavior is centered around vulnerability-based trust and our confidence that team members have positive intent. This area can include actions like team members readily apologizing to one another or team members being unguarded and genuine with each another. Do team members ask one another for input? This first level of trust must be established before moving on to the next level in the model.


Healthy Conflict

This level looks at healthy conflict — a debate on ideas and concepts that avoids mean-spirited, personal attacks. Does the team deal with conflict when it surfaces? Do they work through it before moving on to another subject?



Once trust and healthy conflict are established on a team, then the team can move to commitment. Commitment is clarity around decisions and getting buy-in. Do team members end meetings with clear and specific resolutions and calls to action?



In the context of this model, accountability is peer-to-peer accountability. Do team members offer constructive feedback to each other? Are team members open to this in the spirit of creating the best work product?



Of course, the ultimate goal of these team behaviors is to achieve results — the collective results of the team, and not just the financial measures. How much does the team value collective success versus individual achievement?


In working with intact teams, we have all team members take the initial assessment as a benchmark. Then through five training blocks of two hours each, the team reviews the results and makes an action plan to improve team health in the behaviors. Six months later, the team can retake the assessment to see how they’ve improved. We have been impressed and excited to see teams that started with low scores make significant progress to achieve high scores in team cohesion. How would you assess the health of your team?


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