--- publish: true aliases: [Patrick Lencioni,The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A Leadership Fable] --- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A Leadership Fable - Patrick Lencioni ![rw-book-cover|200x400](https://readwise-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/static/images/default-book-icon-5.25188386e520.png) ## Metadata - Author: **Patrick Lencioni** - Full Title: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A Leadership Fable - Category: #books - Tags: #business #startup ## Highlights - “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.” (Location 33) - The fact remains that teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional. (Location 37) - DYSFUNCTION 1: ABSENCE OF TRUST Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible. (Location 1461) - Personal Histories Exercise In less than an hour, a team can take the first steps toward developing trust. This lowrisk exercise requires nothing more than going around the table during a meeting and having team members answer a short list of questions about themselves. Questions need not be overly sensitive in nature and might include the following: number of siblings, hometown, unique challenges of childhood, favorite hobbies, first job, and worst job. (Location 1490) - Team Effectiveness Exercise This exercise is more rigorous and relevant than the previous one, but may involve more risk. It requires team members to identify the single most important contribution that each of their peers makes to the team, as well as the one area that they must either improve upon or eliminate for the good of the team. (Location 1496) - Personality and Behavioral Preference Profiles Some of the most effective and lasting tools for building trust on a team are profiles of team members’ behavioral preferences and personality styles. These help break down barriers by allowing people to better understand and empathize with one another. (Location 1503) - 360-Degree Feedback These tools have become popular over the past twenty years and can produce powerful results for a team. They are riskier than any of the tools or exercises described so far because they call for peers to make specific judgments and provide one another with constructive criticism. The key to making a 360-degree program work, in my opinion, is divorcing it entirely from compensation and formal performance evaluation. Rather, it should be used as a developmental tool, one that allows employees to identify strengths and weaknesses (Location 1511) - The most important action that a leader must take to encourage the building of trust on a team is to demonstrate vulnerability first. (Location 1523) - DYSFUNCTION 2: FEAR OF CONFLICT All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow. This is true in marriage, parenthood, friendship, and certainly business. (Location 1530) - It is important to distinguish productive ideological conflict from destructive fighting and interpersonal politics. Ideological conflict is limited to concepts and ideas, and avoids personality-focused, mean-spirited attacks. (Location 1534) - Mining Members of teams that tend to avoid conflict must occasionally assume the role of a “miner of conflict”— someone who extracts buried disagreements within the team and sheds the light of day on them. (Location 1553) - Real-Time Permission In the process of mining for conflict, team members need to coach one another not to retreat from healthy debate. (Location 1557) - One of the most difficult challenges that a leader faces in promoting healthy conflict is the desire to protect members from harm. (Location 1567) - In the context of a team, commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in. Great teams make clear and timely decisions and move forward with complete buy-in from every member of the team, even those who voted against the decision. (Location 1577) - Cascading Messaging One of the most valuable disciplines that any team can adopt takes just a few minutes and is absolutely free. At the end of a staff meeting or off-site, a team should explicitly review the key decisions made during the meeting, and agree on what needs to be communicated to employees or other constituencies about those decisions. (Location 1606) - Deadlines As simple as it seems, one of the best tools for ensuring commitment is the use of clear deadlines for when decisions will be made, and honoring those dates with discipline and rigidity. (Location 1613) - Contingency and Worst-Case Scenario Analysis A team that struggles with commitment can begin overcoming this tendency by briefly discussing contingency plans up front or, better yet, clarifying the worst-case scenario for a decision they are struggling to make (Location 1617) - Low-Risk Exposure Therapy Another relevant exercise for a commitment-phobic team is the demonstration of decisiveness in relatively low-risk situations. (Location 1620) - More than any other member of the team, the leader must be comfortable with the prospect of making a decision that ultimately turns out to be wrong. (Location 1624) - Accountability is a buzzword that has lost much of its meaning as it has become as overused as terms like empowerment and quality. In the context of teamwork, however, it refers specifically to the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team. (Location 1630) - Publication of Goals and Standards A good way to make it easier for team members to hold one another accountable is to clarify publicly exactly what the team needs to achieve, who needs to deliver what, and how everyone must behave in order to succeed (Location 1649) - Team members should regularly communicate with one another, either verbally or in written form, about how they feel their teammates are doing against stated objectives and standards. (Location 1654) - Team Rewards By shifting rewards away from individual performance to team achievement, the team can create a culture of accountability. This occurs because a team is unlikely to stand by quietly and fail because a peer is not pulling his or her weight. (Location 1656) - One of the most difficult challenges for a leader who wants to instill accountability on a team is to encourage and allow the team to serve as the first and primary accountability mechanism. (Location 1658) - The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group. An unrelenting focus on specific objectives and clearly defined outcomes is a requirement for any team that judges itself on performance. (Location 1668) - Public Declaration of Results In the mind of a football or basketball coach, one of the worst things a team member can do is publicly guarantee that his or her team will win an upcoming game. (Location 1693) - Results-Based Rewards An effective way to ensure that team members focus their attention on results is to tie their rewards, especially compensation, to the achievement of specific outcomes. (Location 1697) - Perhaps more than with any of the other dysfunctions, the leader must set the tone for a focus on results. (Location 1701) - Ironically, teams succeed because they are exceedingly human. By acknowledging the imperfections of their humanity, members of functional teams overcome the natural tendencies that make trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and a focus on results so elusive. (Location 1706)