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Monday, January 8, 2018

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

I recently read a book called “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. Five Dysfunctions of a Team should be required reading for anyone who is part of a team, especially at the leadership level.

Lencioni’s central theory is that there are 5 key elements to a cohesive team. In order of importance they are:

Trust – they trust one another
Healthy conflict – they engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.
Commitment – they commit to decisions and plans of action.
Accountability – they hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans
Results focus – they focus on the achievement of collective results

Trust is the foundation element because it is only with trust that team conflict can be possible. Teams become dysfunctional when they are unable to productively deal with conflict and all meaningful relationships require productive conflict for them to grow.

When teams engage in productive conflict they can confidently commit to decisions. This is where real commitment to team goals happens.

Without team commitment you cannot have accountability. If the team is to be accountable, everyone must have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.

When teams are not held accountable they tend to look out for their own interests, rather than the interests of the team. A healthy team places team results as the most important goal of all. When all team members place the team’s results first the team becomes results orientated.

Dysfunctional teams are common in business; however, if you believe you’re a member of a dysfunctional team, all is not lost. By understanding the key concepts of a dysfunctional team, you can start to work toward more functional behaviors, such as improving communication between team members, asking your manager for clear direction, holding yourself and other team members accountable when you make a mistake, etc. It may not be the most enjoyable process, but it will result in a more cohesive team—and that will result in better business results.

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