POWER BOOK: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

POWER BOOK is an Aspire blog that features a life changing book. Amanda Scott, an Aspire managing partner, has extensive leadership experience and in this blog features The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. Thank you for sharing, Amanda!

- Wes Saade, M.D.


Many things can contribute to a leader?s success.? They may positively influence others; perhaps they care about their people; they may be trustworthy or work hard.

However, few things can ensure a leader’s success like:? A GREAT TEAM!

the five dysfunctions of a team

There is no greater feeling in the world than being a part of a successful and cohesive team!? Unfortunately, many companies struggle because simply put – there is not a great team in place.? More times than not, there is a crippling lack of teamwork within these companies.

I just completed a book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.? In this book lies a great story of a struggling company and its executives who did not work together as a team. ?Because of that, they were failing miserably, that is until a new CEO is brought in to help. The new CEO is a successful leader because she builds successful teams.? And regardless of the push back and criticism she is determined to build a great team among the executives of her new company.? She did it all by teaching them The Five Dysfunctions of a Team coupled with continuous follow through.? There was some resistance and? some needed changes, but overall it didn?t take but a few weeks for her team to see the importance of teamwork and how success could come from it.? She helped them learn how to take The Five Dysfunctions and turn them into positive principles to live by daily.

The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team

  • The first is Absence of Trust among team members.? Essentially this stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable with the group.? Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.
  • This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction:? Fear of Conflict.? Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debates of ideas.? Instead, they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.
  • A lack of healthy conflict is a problem because it ensures the third dysfunction of a team:? Lack of Commitment.? Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement during meetings.
  • Because of this lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members develop an Avoidance of Accountability, the fourth dysfunction. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
  • Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive.? Inattention to Results occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) or even the needs of their divisions above the collective goals of the team.

And so, like a chain with just one link broken, teamwork deteriorates if even a single dysfunction is allowed to flourish.

Therefore in order for your team to be successful you must:

  • Trust one another
  • Engage in unfiltered conflict of ideas
  • Commit to decisions and plans of action
  • Hold one another accountable for delivering those plans
  • Focus on achievement of collective results

If you have learned something about what it takes to become a successful team here then pick up a copy of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.? Read the story for yourself of how someone took a group of people living by all Five Dysfunctions of a Team and failing, and effectively turned them into a positive force – building a great team from that foundation and together – finding success!

Coming from a huge corporate world, I can say that I was never part of a great successful team.? However it is something that I longed for because I have always known it takes a good team for anything to be successful.? Even though I felt I was a decent leader to my group, the management above me had no idea what great leadership meant.? Their lack of leadership hindered anything that I tried to accomplish and instill in my people.

The Five Dysfunctions is something I will carry with me daily moving forward and present it to anyone who does not believe or buy into teamwork.

Teamwork and people are what make a company successful!

Amanda Scott
ASPIRE, Managing Partner

PS: If you think this blog can benefit a person you know, please consider sharing!

Reading:? This week Dr. Wes Saade is reading the book The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn.

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  • Jamie
    Posted at 11:09h, 07 December

    Amanda & Dr W,

    I recommend the book “FISH!” by Stephen C. Lundin on this subject as well. It’s really a fun read and it seems to reinforce these 5 principles as well.

    Great job as usual!

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