Here is a quick summary of an interesting business book about teams – The Five  Dysfunctions of a Team.

1. Absence of trust

The first dysfunction of a team is when team members are not comfortable being vulnerable, open and honest with one another.

2. Fear of conflict

If there is no trust the next dysfunction of a team is a team that is not comfortable engaging in good, healthy conflict around ideas.

3. Lack of commitment

If there is fear of conflict the third dysfunction is a team that doesn’t commit to a decision. This is evident if the team keeps having the same debates over and over again.

4. Unwillingness to hold one another accountable

A team needs peer to peer accountability.

If a team has committed to a decision, debated the decision with conflict and if the team trusts each other then the next dysfunction is not holding each other accountable.

The team ducks the responsibility to call peers out on counterproductive behaviour.

5. Inattention to results

The final dysfunction of a team is one in which team members focus on their own ego, budget, department or career and not the collective results of the team.

Tackling the problem

For a team to start improving it all starts with the first dysfunction of a team. The team has to start trusting one another.

If you are in a team which is dysfunctioning the solution to nipping office politics in the bud is to call it out, “that sounded pretty political” or, “that sounded passive aggressive”.

Here is the author, Patrick Lencioni, summarising his book.



Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.