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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Posted by Monaghan, Christian at Tuesday, 12/04/2012 1:57 pm
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Read the full post on the SharedHR blog.

Every once in a while an author comes along who can synthesize a very complex topic into a few very compelling and memorable points. I had that experience recently with Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

In his book, Mr. Lencioni writes that the true measure of a team is that it can achieve results, not necessarily that everyone in the group gets along and shares a drink after work - not that there’s anything wrong with that…. But in the work setting, the results that the team can or can’t produce should be the true measure of a team. As important as team results are, the author writes that genuine teamwork is illusive and that teams tend to fall prey to 5 pitfalls that form an inter-related model:

1. Absence of trust among team members: According to the author, mistrust stems from the unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. If team members are not open about their mistakes and weaknesses it makes it impossible to build a foundation for trust. This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction:

2. Fear of conflict: Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered debate of ideas. Instead they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments. This means that team members are reluctant to challenge each other’s ideas and thinking in a healthy and constructive manger. This lack of healthy conflict ensures the third dysfunction of a team:

3. Lack of commitment: Without having aired their conflict or engaged in open and passionate debate, team members rarely buy-in and commit to decisions – thought they may feign agreement during meetings. Because of a lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members fall prey to the fourth dysfunction:

4. Avoidance of accountability: Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people fail to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counter productive to the good of the team. Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive...

Read the full post on the SharedHR blog.

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