Building Trust Develops Team Cohesiveness

LDRSHIP is an acronym for the seven core values of the U.S. Army: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal courage. These principles were instilled in me during my eight years in the U.S. Army Infantry, and later in my career as a Drill Sergeant. These values were foundational to many of my business decisions. The growing reality in retrospect is that these same principles not only made me an effective leader, but they enabled me to develop something in the workplace that every organization strives for but often struggles to achieve: team cohesiveness.

Team cohesiveness doesn’t simply happen, it is created. It’s created through a process of due diligence and a deliberate effort to intentionally and consistently integrate the seven core values into the workplace. Simply put, one has to try. With consistency, trust will be developed.

Developing this trust starts with loyalty. Loyalty is subjective, but its basic definition is faithfulness to the commitments you’ve made and remaining true to the obligations at hand. That means you need to look out for your employees, defend them, advocate for them, and represent them — they are your team. Let your words and actions demonstrate that you’re committed to your team, and doing so consistently will mean that the depth of your commitment is never questioned but it’s understood to be deeply rooted and unbending. This established sense of loyalty builds team harmony because of the trust that it creates. You know what it feels like when somebody truly and legitimately supports you. Did it empower you? Do your employees feel the way you do when a team has your back?

[wcm_restrict]This loyalty I describe is behavioral. It is not something that is fully innate, it is something you do and the more you do it the more innate it becomes. This leads to duty, which is the need for action. When you recognize a duty, a job to be done, a principle to uphold, it is simply to be done with your own self interests aside. As a leader, your duty is to execute, and executing your duties will bring credibility and build trust among your team. They will grow to expect and trust that you’ll come through, and when you do, it creates a cycle that reinforces trust and makes it stronger as time goes on. This is leadership!

The trust you’ve developed through an established sense of loyalty and being faithful in executing your duties can unravel, though, if respect is not always shown. Again, I use the word always. It’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s imperative to treat your employees with respect all the time, in every interaction, and make that a way of life. Appreciate their intelligence, their skill sets, what they’re doing for you, who they are, and both uphold and protect their dignity. You do this by treating them with respect. It’s part of the job as an effective leader. The military taught me how to lead with respect at all times, and human nature taught me the basic understanding that people tend to respect those who respect them.

Sometimes treating people with respect means swallowing your own pride. This leads me to address selfless service: put the welfare and needs of your subordinates before your own. I had new, plush leather office chairs delivered to me and my executive team. We didn’t get enough delivered though. Instead of having an odd man out, I kept an old, beat up call center chair and my team got the good chairs until mine could be replaced. Another example: I had an opportunity for a first-class ticket on a business trip to Vegas where my team was flying coach. I forwent the upgrade and stayed with my team. Selfless service is a mentality that leads to a trend in behavior.

That trend in behavior, assuming it is consistent, shows both honor and integrity. Live up to the values you’ve determined to be appropriate for yourself and your organization, and do what is right. Always! Always do what is right for your team. Doing so, again, builds up trust, and when there is trust among a team led by someone of honor and integrity at his or her core, it will be a team that is more cohesive.

Lastly, leading to develop team cohesiveness will take personal courage. If you’re going to lead a team, just like in the military, your team needs to be able to trust you to take them where you want to go. The path to success is not always an easy or happy journey. Showing them a sense of courage will show your team that you’re confident and capable of leading them. That means doing things you’re going to be afraid to do and having to face adversity head on. That’s not to say recklessly jump into risky situations, don’t do that. But do be calculated and well collected and face your fears.

These values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, were made to be part of my core during my time with the U.S. Army. They have enabled me to be an effective leader as a drill sergeant, and I have adapted these very lessons learned in the military into my business. Each of these attributes both individually and collectively builds trust among a team, and when a deep-seated, long-standing, consistent aura of trust exists, so does team cohesiveness.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Jason LevesqueCEO Jason Levesque, a US Army veteran and entrepreneur, founded Argo Marketing in 2003, and has become a widely respected Maine business owner. Jason has created numerous job opportunities and he remains committed to further developing and supporting his local community. Argo Marketing Group currently has three offices located in Portland, Lewiston, and Pittsfield, Maine; making Argo Marketing Group one of the largest privately held, third party contact center operations in North America.