The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team: What Kind of Teammate are You?

Michael thought Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ was brilliant. The Five Behaviors approach builds effective, high performance teams based on a hierarchical model of vulnerability-based trust, engaging in healthy conflict, team commitment, accountability, and focusing on collective results.

He and his team worked with an executive coach to understand, assess, and develop the Five Behaviors, and it had made a significant difference in the team’s ongoing operation and performance. Rough spots along the way were addressed using the Five Behaviors framework. Amazingly, things were resolved and the team thrived.

Now, however, he was working with a new team that had not done the Five Behaviors work. The experience with his previous team made Michael wonder, “what kind of individual teammate am I?” Michael was aware that, on his new team, he sometimes struggled with the Five Behaviors — for example, holding others, and himself, accountable. It was hard to apply the concepts when dealing with his own feelings and behaviors.

And, it’s incredibly difficult to see ourselves and experience ourselves the way others see and and experience us.

“No one tells you how to be a good teammate,” said Maren Perry, president of Arden Coaching. “It’s one thing to understand how individuals work together to achieve shared goals and how high performance teams function. It’s another thing to understand how you fit into a team dynamic — how your personal strengths contribute to (or weaknesses prevent you from) being a productive teammate and part of a strong, healthy, cohesive team.”

A Personal Development Approach to the Five Behaviors

Fortunately for Michael, the team’s executive coach offered a Personal Development tool built on the Five Behaviors approach. According to Perry, the Five Behaviors personal development tool uses technology from Everything DiSC® and offers powerful insights to help you understand what you bring to your team, and where you can keep growing — even if you’re not currently on a team that’s utilizing the Five Behaviors approach. “Understanding your behaviors and then creating an action-based plan to modify your levels of awareness, patterns of thinking, and behavior drives real change,” said Perry.

As Michael worked his way through the Five Behaviors Personal Development process with his executive coach, he came to realize that his struggles with accountability were two-fold.

First, he became aware of the fact that he tended to be the team’s “peacemaker.” He was sensitive to the feelings of others and preferred smooth waters — so he was less willing to call out problems, denying the team the opportunity to address concerns early on. 

In turn, Michael also realized that, while he’d improved with his previous team, on his new team, he wasn’t very good at accepting input or questions from teammates about his own accountability. He had a tendency to react defensively to feedback. This made it difficult for his teammates to identify or discuss concerns related to accountability in Michael’s area of responsibility.

Michael worked with his executive coach to further understand these eye-opening findings, identified specific behaviors to work on, and created an action-plan. This work helped Michael apply the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team directly to his own performance and helped him focus on his mindset and behavioral change — making him a stronger teammate and team leader on his new team, which in turn helped the team overall.

Contact Arden Coaching for your Five Behaviors Personal Development Assessment and to learn more about developing high performance teams at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.