Build a Cohesive Leadership Team- Part 1: Building Trust

Building Trust, Building a Team, Leadership...

With today’s easy access to so much data and information, it is easier for organizations to build the smarts needed to be successful (strategy, finance, marketing, and technology). But in order for you to set your organization apart from the competition and gain one of many advantages over them, you will need to build a cohesive leadership team. To do that, there are 5 behavioral principles that every team must embrace.  These principles I recently sourced from an amazing book I read called, The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. If you’re interested you can check out the book, with the link above!


  1. Building Trust
  2. Mastering Conflict
  3. Achieving Commitment
  4. Embracing Accountability
  5. Focusing on Results

In this 5-part blog series, I will breakdown each principle to help you get a better understanding of how it will benefit your team and how you can implement it as well.

Building Trust

Most people think of trust as in knowing how a person will behave in a given situation. For example, John knows that if he goes to Jim to get a particular task fulfilled, he knows that Jim will complete that tasks no matter what the situation is. He can count on him 100%. While that type of trust is great and valuable, that is not the kind of trust needed to build a foundation of a great team. The kind of trust that is needed is vulnerability-based trust.

This type of trust is present when members of the team are completely comfortable with being transparent and honest with each other. They can genuinely say things to each other like “I need help”, “I wish I could learn to do that as well as you do”, “Your idea is better than mine”, “I screwed up” and “I’m sorry”.

When everyone on the team knows that no one will hide their weaknesses or mistakes and that everyone is vulnerable enough to say and mean those things, they will develop a deep sense of trust with each other. They won’t pretend to be someone that they’re not and will speak more freely/fearlessly with each other. Over time, this process will create a bond that many people don’t ever experience in their lives.

The most important part of building vulnerability trust within a team is the willingness of team members to abandon/sacrifice their pride, fear, and egos for the greater good of the team. While this could be uncomfortable at first for most people, it will become relieving for people who are tired of spending time and energy overthinking their actions and managing politics at work.  

How do you practically build a team that is on the level of deep trust? The book gave a quick, 15-minute discussion exercise that you can do with your team to help build vulnerability trust within. Everyone on the team will briefly share the following about their lives:

  1. Where they were born

  2. How many siblings they have

  3. Where they fall in the order of children

  4. What is the most interesting or difficult challenge for them as a kid

The most important part is finding out what was uniquely challenging for everyone on the team growing up. This exercise will lead to a new found sense of respect because of the admiration that comes when someone realizes that one of their team members endured and overcame a hardship or accomplished something remarkable. Also, team members will begin the process of getting comfortable with vulnerability when they realize that it is okay and gratifying to tell their team something about themselves that they never mentioned or been asked about before.

This is the 1st of a 5 part blog series and each part is equally important in building a cohesive leadership team. As mentioned earlier, I sourced these great and important principles from an amazing book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni, which you should check out!

Stay tuned over the next couple weeks to get a quick dive into each of these principles!

Julius Holt