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Develop Cohesion Articles and Videos


The best measure of a team is how well it performs under pressure. When the going gets tough, the tough get going… by working together as a team. This maxim holds true for front-line teams, executive teams, and all other teams in between, including yours. You can boost teamwork by developing the cohesion of your team. The result will be more supportive and dependable relationships. Developing cohesion enhances well-being, reduces stress, and enables your team’s creativity and collective decision-making. Cohesive teams in the workplace are better able to bounce back from adversity, and then adapt and grow together because of that adversity.

See the Develop Cohesion Competency Domain leader tasks and supporting knowledge.  



Magazine and Newsletter Articles

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Talking about Setbacks is an Opportunity for Growth and Team Building

Top-performing leaders view setbacks and failures as opportunities to learn from them, and to rally the team for a review of what went wrong. Examining setbacks in a professional, non-confrontational way builds a team’s resilience when you demonstrate that failure teaches us how to move forward more successfully.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Leaders Need to be Present During a Crisis

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Who hasn’t heard that phrase? We believe that true leaders should amend the old saw by adding, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And the leader is present, ready to pitch in.”

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Get to Know, and Care About, Your People

Leaders need to demonstrate that they truly care about the members of the team. To freshly minted managers out there, listen closely: It’s okay to get to know your direct reports. It’s okay to be concerned about their well-being, both professionally and personally. You can even be friends with them. As long as you have established that you are the team leader, getting to know, and to care about, the people who report to you will only make the team stronger.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Create a Respectful Work Environment

Respect can be a highly charged term in the workplace, one that is often misunderstood and not infrequently abused under weak leadership. The problem lies in the dual definitions of the word. Individuals – leaders included – must earn the true respect of others. But even in instances where true respect is not earned in every peer-to-peer relationship, it is up to the leader to create a respectful environment for all.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Build a Circle of Trust with Your Team

As a leader, you need to build trust between yourself and the people on your team. But once you have everyone’s trust, your next task is to ensure that teammates trust one another. If you fail to nurture trust between team members, the team will never function smoothly. Ultimately, such teams fail to achieve their full potential.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Collaboration is Key

Top-flight leaders understand that winning teams know how to handle assignments flexibly and collaboratively. But it’s up to the leader to build that muscle in the team. There are essentially two types of teams: Those where every player knows their job and does it; and those where the players collaborate to get the work done without the need for specific assignments. The savvy leader seeks to build the latter team.

RBLP Staff

What Resilience Means, and Why It Matters

When Sarah Bond and Gillian Shapiro asked 835 employees from public, private, and nonprofit firms in Britain what was happening in their own lives that required them to draw upon their own resiliency 75% of them said that the biggest drain on their resilience reserves was “managing difficult people or office politics at work.” The author, Andrea Ovans, cites multiple leaders and publications that try to understand how leaders can build resiliency in individuals and in their organizations.

Andrea Ovans in Harvard Business Review

The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing

A recent EY survey found that more than 40% of U.S. respondents reported feeling physically and emotionally isolated in the workplace. This group spanned generations, genders and ethnicities. People want more connection with those they work with. So how can companies connect more effectively with employees and help them feel like they belong within their workplace community? The survey points to one simple solution: establish more opportunities for colleagues to check in with one another. 39% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally. By reaching out and acknowledging their employees on a personal level, companies and leaders can significantly enhance the employee experience by making their people feel valued and connected. When building a cohesive team RBLP teaches that when leaders show a genuine concern to their team it can help them overcome personal and professional challenges and lead to an increase in trust and commitment.

Karyn Twaronite in Harvard Business Review

Rekindling a Sense of Community at Work

During the pandemic, many of us became more isolated than before. Community, which the authors define as a group of individuals who share a mutual concern for one another’s welfare, has proven challenging to cultivate, especially for those working virtually. To learn more, they conducted a survey with the Conference for Women in which they asked nearly 1,500 participants about their sense of community at work before and since the pandemic and found it has declined 37%. When people had a sense of community at work, they found that they were 58% more likely to thrive at work, 55% more engaged, and 66% more likely to stay with their organization. They experienced significantly less stress and were far more likely to thrive outside of work, too. People can create community in many ways, and preferences may differ depending on their backgrounds and interests. The authors present several ways companies have successfully built a sense of community at work that leaders can consider emulating at their own organizations. As taught in RBLP’s lessons around developing team cohesion helping your team develop both social and task cohesion is an important part of building a resilient team.

Christine Porath and Carla Piñeyro Sublett in Harvard Business Review

How to Refocus Your Leadership Around Building Relationships in a Remote World

Tina Lapp explores ways in which employees can have relational work experiences. It is safe to say that most people have had to adjust the way they work in recent years. Many companies have continued a remote, or partially remote, work environment making it challenging at times for leadership to lead from afar. A successful leader must be able to embrace change and lead through it. The author of this article has some ideas that might be helpful when retooling your leadership style to embrace a modern and ever-changing workforce. This includes: seeking mentors from outside your industry, teaching others, and initiate focus groups. These are all useful practices mentioned in RBLP’s lesson around Developing a Cohesive Team. For some this will mean they will need to get out of their own entrenched mental models and start helping their teams create new ones.

Tina Lapp in Entrepreneur

How Diversity of Thought Can Fit into Your Strategy

Fawn Weaver started a distillery using her own money to honor the life of Uncle Nearest, a former enslaved man who was Jack Daniel’s first master distiller. The company took off to become the fastest growing spirits company in the world, winning many awards for its whiskeys. Weaver, a Black woman, also was deeply intentional about building in DEI best practices in from the start, which surprised some people who thought a company with a female, African-American leader wouldn’t have to think as much about DEI. Wrong, Weaver says and she demonstrates the ways the company focuses on inclusion to avoid common pitfalls other companies face when building up their diversity efforts. Weaver focuses not just on demographic diversity, but also diversity of thought, a tricky concept that’s sometimes used as a scapegoat to avoid hard conversations about DEI. Weavers says you need both. Her journey is not over, though, as she continues to work on her company’s diversity, and her industries, partnering with Jack Daniels to build a pipeline of diverse talent in the spirits business. RBLP discusses the importance of D&I as part of treating people with respect. In embracing everyone’s unique contributions you are ensuring that people have equal opportunities for involvement and empowerment and creating a better end product and work environment.

Ella F. Washington in Harvard Business Review

Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate

For organizations seeking to become more adaptive and innovative cultural change is often the most challenging part of the transformation. As discussed by RBLP, we can all get stuck in our mental models, or how we perceive how to do something. To create a movement in your organization the authors of this article suggest framing the issue in terms that ‘stir emotion and incite action; then mobilize more supporters by demonstrating quick wins. They state that culture change only happens when people take action.

Bryan Walker and Sarah A. Soule in Harvard Business Review

5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently

New research suggests that the highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic to fuel their success. The findings offer important clues on ways any organization can foster greater connectedness, even within a remote or hybrid work setting, to engineer higher-performing teams. Doing so takes more than simply hiring the right people and arming them with the right tools to do their work. It requires creating opportunities for genuine, authentic relationships to develop. The authors present five key characteristics of high-performing teams, all of which highlight the vital role of close connection among colleagues as a driver of team performance. As mentioned in the RBLP lessons, authenticity is key to trust and cohesion amongst teams.

Ron Friedman in Harvard Business Review

The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing

A recent EY survey found that more than 40% of U.S. respondents reported feeling physically and emotionally isolated in the workplace. This group spanned generations, genders and ethnicities. People want more connection with those they work with. So how can companies connect more effectively with employees and help them feel like they belong within their workplace community? The survey points to one simple solution: establish more opportunities for colleagues to check in with one another. 39% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally. By reaching out and acknowledging their employees on a personal level, companies and leaders can significantly enhance the employee experience by making their people feel valued and connected.

Karyn Twaronite in Harvard Business Review

Debriefing: A Simple Tool to Help Your Team Tackle Tough Problems

Debriefing is a structured learning process designed to continuously evolve plans while they’re being executed. It originated in the military as a way to learn quickly in rapidly changing situations and to address mistakes or changes on the field. In business, debriefing has been widely documented as critical to accelerating projects, innovating novel approaches, and hitting difficult objectives. It also brings a team together, strengthens relationships, and fosters team learning.

Doug Sundheim in Harvard Business Review

Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration

When I analyzed sustained collaborations in a wide range of industries, I found that they were marked by common mental attitudes: widespread respect for colleagues’ contributions, openness to experimenting with others’ ideas, and sensitivity to how one’s actions may affect both colleagues’ work and the mission’s outcome.

Francesca Gino in Harvard Business Review

Learning in the Thick of It

How to transform your AARs from diagnoses of past failure into aids for future success? Realize that looking for lessons isn’t the same as learning them. View the AAR as an ongoing learning process – rather than a one-time meeting, report, or postmortem. Set the stage for AARs with rigorous before-action planning – articulating your intended results, anticipated challenges, and lessons from previous similar situations. Conduct mini-AARs after each project milestone – holding everyone accountable for
applying key lessons quickly in the next project phase.

Marilyn Darling, Charles Parry, and Joseph Moore in Harvard Business Review

Supporting Videos

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.

Simon Sinek – TED

Forget the Pecking Order at Work

Organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Bec…

Margaret Heffernan – TED Women

Why Being Respectful to Your Coworkers is Good for Business

Looking to get ahead in your career? Start by being respectful to your coworkers, says leadership researcher Christine Porath. In this science-backed talk, she shares surprising insights about the costs of rudeness and shows how little acts of respect can boost your professional success — and your company’s bottom line.

Christine Porath – TED University of Nevada