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Book Review: The Five dysfunctions of a team

Patrick Lencioni is an American writer and in his book he portrays a story of a company who is struggling to find new opportunities. He described in his book that whether you are capable or not, each and every team has gone through some rough patch in their life. He presented a very practical model that can be followed to get out of that struggle.

Patrick presented a story of a struggling technology company. The new CEO is aware of the fact that the company has got some abilities and talent but the executives are not working together as a team. The team is not ready to take any responsibility and as a team they are not agreeing into one solution. Lack of team work and unable to take responsibilities is badly affecting the organization’s reputation.

In order to solve these issues and to work as a team, it is necessary for the CEO and the executives to address the five dysfunctions of their team i.e. absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results.

Absence of trust

The author describes that the main reason behind the absence of trust is that they are not ready to share their weaknesses with each other. The energy which can be better utilized in finding the solution of their problems was wasted in unnecessary defensive behaviors. They are reluctant to discuss issues with each other; however they can solve this issue by discussing and sharing their ideas and experiences with each other.

Fear of Conflict

Conflict is not bad but how teams deal with these conflicts will matter. A good conflict will increase productivity. Teams often avoid conflicts by pretending it with an artificial harmony. Trust plays a key role in building great teams and good teams always deal with conflicts productively. Good team leader should lead from the front by setting an example to show his team how to deal with the conflicts

Lack of Commitment

Commitment means to make productive and confident decisions. Decisions that are made without taking collective opinions and thoughts will bring lack of commitment in team. Each member in a team should be involved in decision making process because collective decisions are better decisions. At the end of team meetings, Leader should make sure that all members are committed to the organization by giving responsibilities to each and every member of the team.

Avoidance of Accountability

According to the author, team can only be accountable if they are committed. Lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities will make people less accountable. In order to deal with this dysfunction, Leader should set standards and regularly review progress reports.

Inattention to Results

Team who is not accountable will only work for their self interest. A good team will focus on the team’s interest and feel the pain when team fails to achieve its goals. Leader leads in behavior should be adopted to overcome this dysfunction.

“crucial decisions that shape how scaling unfolds. One of these universal decisions is whether and when to take a more “Catholic” or a more “Buddhist” path.”

Sean Coyne

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