The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni


Most companies faults prey to five pitfalls of a team, five dysfunctions of a team.

1. Absence of Trust Functional teams trust each other.

If you don’t trust others, you cannot produce results. Teams must open up to each other. Trust lies at the core of a functional and cohesive team.

Trust says that there’s confidence between team members and that other team members have the common good in mind for the team. When team members are truly comfortable with each other, they do not walk around protecting themselves.

The team should find everyone’s weaknesses and strengths on the team. In a team meeting, have each individual take a moment to talk about his/her own strengths and weaknesses

– the exercise can be very helpful for the team. It is important to know that each individual has his/her own distinct personality and preferences – it is good to know about each person.

2. Fear of Conflict

All great relationships require conflict to grow — marriage, friendship, parenting and business. It is important to decipher interpersonal conflict & fighting from constructive conflict.

Healthy conflict is actually a timesaver. You must first acknowledge that the right kind of conflict is healthy and does not need to be avoided. A leader will make dysfunction amongst the team thrive by avoiding constructive conflict.

3. Lack of Commitment

Failure to Buy-in Decisions Commitment is a dysfunction of two things: clarity and buy-in. When people feel like they don’t get it (purpose, reason for doing something, etc.), they will not get buy-in or get on board.

People need to weigh-in before they can buy-in People know that not everyone has to agree with them, but they should be heard.

Everyone’s ideas should be heard and considered so that they will genuinely buy-in. Until each member of the team has placed their thoughts and opinions on the table can they make a wise decision that others will buy into. When a leader fails to consider buy-in from his people, frustration and dysfunction will follow.

4. Avoidance of Accountability

People will not hold each other accountable for something if they have not bought into it. Accountability is a buzzword that has lost its power.

Team members must be able to call out others on performance and commitment. Keep each other accountable on what has been agreed upon. The discomfort of telling someone something will cause many to avoid it for personal comfort.

A team must respect each other enough to keep each other accountable.

5. Inattention to Results

The tendency is usually to care about everything else except for the good of the team as a whole. We should put our own ego or priorities to the side for that of the team.

Every person must know the most important things (priorities, goals, tasks, etc.) that need to be done in order to work on them. Is it customer service, personal revenue, etc.? What is the overarching goal?

Are you making the team better or making it dysfunctional? Successful teams overcome the dysfunctions.

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