Lencioni’s 5 dysfunctions of a team

Do you know the five dysfunctions of team… at least from Patrick Lencioni’s perspective?

In a story-telling format, he’s laid out an interesting case for what are the dysfunctions keeping most teams from optimal performance — and how to get around them.  Here is a sampling of each of the five dysfunctions. If these resonate with you, the book may be helpful. It is a very fast read.

  1. Absence of Trust: In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group. In essence, teammates must get comfortable being vulnerable with one another.
  2. Fear of Conflict: All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow. This is true in marriage, parenthood, friendship, and certainly business. Unfortunately, conflict is considered taboo in many situations, especially at work. And the higher you go up the management chain, the more you find people spending inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to avoid the kind of passionate debates that are essential to any great team.
  3. Lack of Commitment: In context of a team, commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in. Great teams make clear and timely decisions and move forward with the complete buy-in from every member of the team, even those who voted against the decision. They leave meetings confident that no one on the team is quietly harboring doubts about whether to support the actions agreed on. The two greatest causes of the lack of commitment are the desire for consensus and the need for certainty.
  4. Avoidance of Accountability: In the context of teamwork, accountability refers specifically to the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team. The essence of this dysfunction is the unwillingness of team members to tolerate the interpersonal discomfort that accompanies calling a peer on his or her behavior and the more general tendency to avoid difficult conversations. Members of great teams overcome these natural inclinations, opting instead to “enter the danger” with one another.
  5. Inattention to Results: The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group. An unrelenting focus on specific objectives and clearly defined outcomes is a requirement for any team that judges itself on performance.