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  • Meso
  • People
  • Conduct

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick Lencioni ca. 230 pages, John Wiley (2002)

Written like a novel, Patrick Lencioni makes the reader understand, what really matters for the team at the top of the house. Gradually, sometimes like in a criminal story our interest ‘to solve the case’ is urging the reader forward. Insights are shared piece by piece, like the elements of a puzzle. While the story is worthwhile to read and for someone preparing to perform in a top team is a perfect stimulation and description of what to watch out for, the more experienced leader may move fast forward to the section called The Model. There, Patrick summarizes his rich experience in the 2002 book about the five derailing dysfunctions of a leadership team into a brief diagram containing those five levels, namely the absence of trust, the fear of conflict, the lack of commitment, the avoidance of accountability and the inattention to results. He briefly describes the consequences of those dysfunctions. On the final pages of his book, Patrick shares practical tips on how to assess a team in relation to those five performance derailers and offers an easy to use questionnaire with an answering sheet. Even more important for any top-team leaders, alternatively a facilitator working with a top team, are the relevant exercises with the team after an assessment is conducted. Using the book can make any team, especially top teams, better in building trust in each other, addressing conflict constructively, demonstrate commitment to their goals, act in an accountable way and give high attention to the results of their dedicated work and action.

By reading, immediately thoughts are coming up on how to improve teams. Here is one of the larger scale thoughts by one of the readers – and ! important to say! this has nothing to do with the author of the book - just imagine for a moment, how much better our world could be altogether, if the top leaders would not represent their units/countries, but re-define themselves as the top team of the world and really take care of the results of politics and business for the whole world! Enjoy that picture in your mind for a second, and see the heads of our countries addressing the conflicts constructively and together feel accountable for the well-being of all of us 7, 8, 9… billion.

Well, if you think this is too far out unfortunately, take the Lencioni book into your current reality. Be sure, you can improve every team by applying the lessons and transform them into a high(er) performing team. recommends the reading of this book as we have tested the tools and approaches already many times with great success. How much more could your leadership team achieve by eliminating those five dysfunctions and unleashing the full power?

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