Community & Government

Building a Trusted Team

Drawing on her leadership experience inside and outside of government, Secretary Rice gives practical advice for assembling and structuring teams you can trust.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Assembling Your Team * Structuring Your Team * Mistakes in Hiring


- Wherever you're leading-- I've been provost of a University, I've been on boards of directors of companies. Of course, I've been in government-- everybody has to build a team. And everybody has to build a team that you can trust, and that you come to trust the answers that they give you to very tough questions, because you can't know it all. Sometimes, as an academic, you really want to know something in great, great depth. When you come in as-- you're Secretary of State-- things are moving so fast. You have to rely on other people. So one of the real lessons of diplomacy is make sure that you see the leadership characteristics in others. They are your force multiplier. [MUSIC PLAYING] I am a huge football fan, and one of the reasons is that it is the most strategic of games. You actually plan before each play, and everybody has a role to play, and they have to be very specific and know exactly what they are going to do. It's a perfect analogy, really, to the way that a team has to operate. The other thing that I love about the football analogy is if you are the right tackle standing next to the right guard-- for those of you who are maybe not football aficionados, you have a center, you have a guard, and a tackle on the offensive line, on both sides of the ball. If you are the-- let's say, the right tackle, standing next to that guard, you shouldn't be worrying about whether or not that guard is doing what he needs to do. You just worry about what you need to do, and you have to have trust in your teammate that your teammate is going to do what he needs to do. And I love that about putting together a team and working, because I want people who are going to be focused on what they need to do. I don't want them always judging what the other person is doing. I certainly don't want the blame game about, well, Joey didn't do his job, and so I couldn't do my job. Let me judge whether Joey is doing his job. You just do your job, and we'll get there. So I find the analogy really great for the way that a team has to operate. It's also the case that if you find a football team that starts playing the blame game, that's a team that's in trouble. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you're building a team, it's really important to ask yourself, what do I need in a team? Obviously, you need expertise. And so you're going to want to bring onto the team people who have the kind of expertise that you need. So the first thing is, what expertise do you need? And what do you need those people to be able to do? Generally, you've got a record in front of you. And you can judge whether they've done that, whether they have that kind of expertise. I would always interview people. And I would always ask, you know, what's the hardest thing you've ever had to do? That gave me a sense of their ability to manage in crisis. I very often asked what they thought of the mistakes that we had made in the Bush administration. I wanted to test for...

About the Instructor

Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice stood toe to toe with dictators, counseled presidents, and managed to find common ground on issues that still polarize us today. Sit down with two legendary secretaries of state as they reveal how to build bridges, hold boundaries, and apply history’s lessons to everyday challenges. The class presents an intimate portrait of the late Dr. Albright’s legacy for the next generation.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Madeleine Albright & Condoleezza Rice

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice teach you to settle differences in everyday life like a diplomat.

Explore the Class
Sign Up