Book Review: “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

Perhaps one of the most influential books of our time, Patrick Lencioni leverages an innovative writing (at least for business books) style (at least for business books) which leverages the power of parable to explore a complex topic. In his book, “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” Lencioni uses a model based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to describe the common problems that prevent teams from performing at their best.

These dysfunctions are:

  1. Absence of trust: Trust is the foundation of any successful team. Without trust, team members are unwilling to be vulnerable with one another and may hesitate to share ideas or ask for help. This lack of trust can lead to a lack of teamwork and cooperation, resulting in a less effective team.
  2. Fear of conflict: Healthy conflict is essential for a team to grow and improve. However, if team members are afraid to voice their opinions or concerns, they may not engage in productive conflict, leading to a lack of diverse perspectives and decision-making.
  3. Lack of commitment: Without commitment, team members may be less likely to follow through on their responsibilities or fully engage in team discussions. This can lead to a lack of accountability and a lack of progress towards team goals.
  4. Avoidance of accountability: Team members who are not held accountable for their actions or lack of progress can undermine the team’s success. This lack of accountability can lead to a lack of trust and a lack of commitment to the team’s goals.
  5. Inattention to results: A team that is not focused on results is unlikely to be successful. If team members are more concerned with personal agendas or status, they may not work together effectively and may not be motivated to achieve the team’s goals.

Overall, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team model highlights the importance of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results in building a successful and effective team. By addressing these dysfunctions, teams can overcome common problems and work together more effectively to achieve their goals.

Over the years, I’ve personally purchased over 20 copies of this book and shared with colleagues and members of my team that struggle with team dynamics, which invariably starts with a deficiency of the most critical and foundational element: TRUST.

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