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The 5 dysfunctions of a team

The 5 dysfunctions of a team is a book written by Patrick Lencioni. The author brings out in depth analysis based on the study about the pitfalls the team faces when they grow together, explores the fundamental causes for organisational politics and team failures. 

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Every individual in the team is unique with their  own strengths, weakness, interests, culture, skills and capabilities. Together its more important for a team to be productive and happy with a collective goal in mind.

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Author starts asking these 5 questions about every team before we look into the dysfunctions

Do your team members openly and readily disclose their opinions? : Reflects how vulnerable the team is and the trust between the team members

Are your team meetings compelling and productive? : Reflects conflict management

Does your team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus? Reflects the team's commitment

Do your team members confront one another about their shortcomings? Reflects the behaviour of accountability

Do your team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team? Reflects contribution towards team's result and effectiveness

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The five dysfunctions are stacked in a pyramid and are hierarchical, much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Without building a strong foundation on the bottom, there is no achieving the higher level goals.

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#1 : Absence of trust (Bottom most part of the pyramid)

Trust is one of the fundamental block to build a high performing team. Normally teams believe they can trust only if they know each others. The pace at which the teams are growing in every organisation, be it co-located or virtual, building trust becomes an integral part

 Author cites that vulnerability based trust is very important for a team where the team can raise their hand every time they need help, admit their weakness and limitations, own up the mistake. When you want to make something part of the culture, nuture the habit. The leader of the pack sets as an example, others will follow.

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Suggested team activity

  • Team introduction : Share name, details about family, geography, culture, memories of childhood, challenges, etc
  • Personality based tools

These activity helps build team dynamics, create empathy

Once the trust is build part of the culture, rest assured on the foundation of the pyramid.

 

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#2 Fear of Conflict

 

During discussions, brainstorming, meetings the team's important role is to discuss openly so that the discussion is healthy and fruitful. Conflict discussions without trust gets manipulative, resulting in unconstructive, unhealthy discussions. Trust between the teams will improve by sharing appreciations, sending a thank you note, sharing a critical feedback displays bold character. Preparing ourself to be uncomfortable, discussing a bad idea to see everyone agrees or avoid the conflict, team introspection will help in building trust and there by resolve fear of conflict. 

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If there are disagreements during the discussion, instead of pushing it as offline discussion, encourage the team to discuss by interrupting them. This opens up the world of different perspectives both for the leader and the team to understand

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#3 :Lack of Commitment

It is very important for a team to have clear goals, clarity on the key decisions and actions. Every discussion should have clear goals set, review the key decisions at end of the meeting and have the every individual to commit to the actions agreed upon. People should weigh in their opinion and improve on their commitment. Commitment to the decisions are achieved when the conflicts are healthy within the team

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#4: Avoidance of Team Accountability

Accountability becomes a collective behaviour of the team. When a team member does not commit to a clear plan of action, the peers hesitate to call on the actions which becomes counterproductive for the entire team. This behaviour pulls down the overall team's productivity and performance rather than being self disciplined team.

 

Team members should challenge difficult issues to hold each others accountable. Clear protocols defined on team behaviour by the team themselves, regular introspection, appreciations would ensure the team stays healthy and accountable for their actions

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Suggested team activity to practice accountability

Team effectiveness (360 deg feedback)

  • Understand the behaviour, habits that make them great as a team
  • Top one or two things that hurts in the team
  • One thing they can do it differently to improve

Every team member commits to an action before they complete this activity. (creating accountability)

 

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#5: Inattention to results

Team's collective goals are key for success of the business. When the teams have build good trust, healthy conflict, stand by their commitment, be accountable for their actions and are recognized within their organisation with rewards/others, teams are naturally inclined to stand by their collective goals, stay focused and be resilient. 

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Lets break the walls to build in a good synergy with the team. As a leader you would enjoy working with the team, feel accomplished for your teams success and happiness and of course for your business goals as well. 

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CURATED BY

CURATOR'S NOTE

Every individual in the team is unique with his/her own strengths, weakness, interest, culture and capabilities. Together its more important for a team to be productive and happy with a collective goal in mind

Curious about different takes? Check out our The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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