Leading cohesive teams

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are many people out there who talk about leadership. So much that you would think we have it figured out. Although if you have led you to know there are many challenges. One of the biggest in building the cohesion of the team.


Creating the cohesive team can be quite messy. To unite the group in one goal can challenge some the team members’ priorities.

When Paul O’Neil became the CEO of Alcoa he famously told Wall Street he was going to focus on safety. They thought he was crazy and many sold their shares in the company. His pursuit of safety brought his leadership and the company together. This led to a surprising profitability. He knew how to create cohesiveness by focusing on a keystone habit of safety.

Uniting the team

Proximity does not bring a team together. You need to build on the shared experiences and individual strength. On a remote team, this can be developed. Dealing with adversity and time constraints can bring a team together or tear it apart. As leaders, we need to confront those actions that can undermine the team spirit.

Unite your team by creating a calling #TeamBuilding Click To Tweet

Be on notice for poor attitudes and overly dramatic actions. The real conflict is one thing that is going to happen. Although if you notice certain actors always stoking the flames, quick actions are needed.

If you get cancer on your team you need to address them. Put them on notice and if necessary help them out the door. Managers may think they can handle people like this, but more times than not they create a poor environment. You want to unite your team not divide it.

Create a calling

Tony Hsieh the founder of Zappos has credited their growth from creating a strong culture and brand that enlists his employees in his calling. The employees enjoy working there and provide some of the best customer service anywhere.

What things can you do to create strong culture and calling? Think about ways to make the team happy. These don’t need to be extravagant. How can you treat the team fairly? Simple things like making sure they have the right equipment and tools can go a long way.

Keep sharing the mission

I have a great friend that likes to tell the same stories over and over. “Have I ever told you about …” he will say and I will usually nod my head. Organizational chiefs must do the same thing. The mission of the group must be told and re-told. As we follow we forget what we are doing here and what is the mission. Each organization experiences¬†mission leak where the troops need to be reminded.

Engage everyone

Leaders must learn what makes each member of their team tick. Some will want to be recognized in front of their peers while others just need the freedom to do their work their own way. Engagement is not a one size fits all approach. It takes time and concentration.

If you have spent any time around little kids you will no doubt have heard some discussion about fairness. The individuals that make up your team must know that equality is not in this sense fairness. The subtle differences help bring about great performance when the leaders know how they work together.

Engage your whole team, get to know them #TeamBuilding Click To Tweet

When I played football many of the coaches had a hard time relating to the kickers. Their job is more mental than many of the rest of their teammates. One coach took a surprisingly different approach to working with them. It was more of a laid back style and the starting kicker began to flourish with this leadership.

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