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Review: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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Reflecting on some of the great sports teams of the world… the New York Yankees, Manchester United, New England Patriots, and Los Angeles Lakers (among many others)… they consistantly need their individual members to come together and consciously work towards the end goal as a team.  For that to happen successfully, there has to be a number of things in place to keep the team collectively focused on its goal. 


Similarly, in business, people in leadership positions need to understand the dynamics of a good team, and more importantly, what can derail good teams, and how to get them back on track.


The factors that can derail a team is the subject of Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable [2].  To work effectively as a team, you have to have proper communication and understanding between members in order to keep the end goal a top priority.


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable [2]Unfortunately, according to Lencioni, there are five things that can get in the way of this communication, which can then undermine the team:

  1. Absence of trust
  2. Fear of conflict
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Avoidance of accountability
  5. Inattention to results


To illustrate these points, the first part of the book is devoted to a fictional tale involving Kathryn, a newly hired CEO of a Silicon Valley company that has major teamwork issues.


As you read through the story, you can see how easily any one of the dysfunctions can make a real mess of things.  What struck me most was how realistic the situations in the story played out.  You may recognize some of your own colleagues (and even yourself!) falling into these traps.


Knowing the dysfunctions is only half the battle.  So, in the second part of the book, Lencioni elaborates on each dysfunction and gives actionable steps to counter them as they come up.  Lencioni makes no bones about it… some of these remedies are not easy.  But, they are necessary if you want to keep your team together and moving forward.  And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.


If you are looking for a better understanding of teamwork, and how to give your group the best possible chance of success, check out The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable [2].


Other Books by Patrick Lencioni