The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Short Summary
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (2002) Summary focuses on the importance of teamwork and especially highlights the five dysfunctions of a team. Moreover, the author has suggested ways we can overcome dysfunctions and become an effective team.
the five dysfunctions of a team summary

Detail Summary

The book is written by Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group. In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he shared his view on why teams suffer from dysfunction. And what strategies should be adopted to overcome the dysfunctions?

According to him, working in a team is not easy. We all want to be bosses and don’t want to work under anyone. When we are working together as a team, there is a possibility that mistrust, politics, and ego will come the way. But when we overcome the dysfunctions of a team, we will be able to become an efficient team that can give a lot of benefits to the company and its rivals.

The five dysfunctions of a team model are:

  1.  Absence of Trust: Teams who lack trust conceal weaknesses and mistakes, hesitate to ask for help, jump to conclusions about the intentions of others and hold grudges.

“Trust is the foundation of real teamwork.”― Patrick Lencioni

  1. Fear of Conflict: A lack of trust leads to the fear of conflict. Employees worry more about politics and personal risk management in these companies than solving problems.
  2. Lack of Commitment: When teams become conflict-avoidant, a fear of failure develops. These teams have difficulty making decisions and second-guess themselves.

“Commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in”― Patrick Lencioni

  1.  Avoidance of Accountability: Second-guessing and a lack of common objectives then lead to an inability to develop standards for performance. Team members miss deadlines and deliver mediocre work.

“The enemy of accountability is ambiguity” ― Patrick LencioniInattention to results: When teams lack focus and clear objectives, team members stagnate, become distracted, and focus on themselves.

All of these dysfunctions are interlinked and lead to inefficiency in teamwork.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary Key Points

Are you facing difficulty while leading a team? How make the dysfunctional team work better together? This book enlights the various ways teams use to understand each other and overcome their issues to work together.

Don’t hide your weaknesses and mistakes

The book guides us that when we are working in a team, we should be open about our weaknesses. Moreover, we should not hide mistakes as this can cause trust issues. Moreover, almost all team dysfunctions arise because of the lack of trust.

You should be honest with your team members so that they trust you. In this way, trust will be developed between your team members, and they will help you with your problems instead of judging you. When team members are vulnerable to one another, they create trust.

People must realize that there is no reason to shield themselves and begin to open up about their faults and flaws. As much as the most vulnerable, the leader must be an example of vulnerability.

Take a look at an example of this from the book’s fictional story.

Kathryn, the CEO of DecisionTech, recognized the importance of taking the time to communicate mistakes with the team. She took the lead by addressing the team about her previous managerial failures and her firing. Kathryn gained the team’s trust by doing so, and she also assisted them in opening up and sharing their own flaws.

Support every Decision

“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.”
― Patrick Lencioni

According to the author, making all the decisions together in a team is important. Not only this, but stand by the decision. This is the secret to becoming an efficient team.

Team members understand that making any decision is always preferable to making a no-decision. When a team fails to make a decision, there will be confusion and ambiguity, which will impair work at all levels. However, reaching an agreement may not always be achievable. People have diverse viewpoints, and pleasing everyone is neither easy nor practical. That’s why effective team members agree to commit to a decision that will support the common aim regardless of whether they agree.

To achieve so, though, every viewpoint must be heard. Even if their opinions disagree, most sensible people will accept a choice as long as their sentiments are heard and treated. A quality of a cohesive team is that it works well together.

“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
― Patrick Lencioni

Stop seeking out individual recognition

The book teaches us a lesson that the ultimate dysfunction is the team’s desire for individual recognition at the price of the team’s success. Individuals in sports teams effectively convince them to prioritize the team above themselves.

So, to become an efficient team, members realize that the team’s goal is more important than individual gains. Take, for example, the story of Kathryn’s husband, a basketball coach. He had to drop one of his best players because that player was more concerned about how many points he scored than whether or not the team won the game.

In the workplace, the leader must treat the team’s overall performance as crucial as the final score of a football game. If the team loses, no matter how well an individual performs on the team, everyone loses. The leader must set the tone for a results-oriented approach. If the team believes the leader prioritizes something other than results, they will interpret this as permission.

You can also read the book Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Summary.

Who would I recommend The five dysfunctions of a team summary to?

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary is recommended to all leaders and those who aspire to be leaders. The book will guide them on how important teamwork is to succeed.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary - February 2022

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