Oana's Ohana

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

source: Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Orgs fail to achieve teamwork because they unknowingly fall prey to 5 natural but dangerous pitfalls or "dysfunctions". They form an interrelated model, each with susceptibility of being lethal to the success of a team. Bettering the team requires a common language, being able to talk with the same words. The 5 dysfunctions are:

1. The absence of trust among team members. This stems from unwillingness to be vulnerable among the group. Team members who are not genuinely open about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation for trust. The failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second core dysfunction:

2. Fear of conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate 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:

3. Lack of commitment. Without having aired their opinions over the course of passionate and unfiltered 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:

4. An avoidance for accountability. Without commiting 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 then thrives:

5. Inattention to results. This occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) above the collective goals of the team. And so, like a chain with just one link broken, teamwork deteriorates even if only a single dysfunction is allowed to flourish.

Truly cohesive and winning teams behave like this:

  1. they trust one another

  2. they respectfully engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas

  3. they commit to decisions and plans of actions

  4. they hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans

  5. they focus on the achievement of collective results

This is easy to say, but hard to do. It requires a level of discipline and persistence that few are able to muster. It's up to us to overcome our blockades, to heal from the injury and to grow stronger because of it.

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