The five dysfunctions of a team

For those who are used to business/management literature, Lencioni should not be an unusual name. His prolific writing career include The Advantage, Death by Meeting and this post’s topic: the Five dysfunction of a team.

It’s broken into 2 very different sections: the first one is written as a corporate fairytale where a new CEO is in charge of an executive team. The second one is more like a recipe to implement a plan to overcome the dysfunctions.

Having gone through similar exercises like the ones described in the book, I can appreciate the value of the pain a team needs to go through to be effective and to be pushing in the same direction. The book itself is a very easy read and not long at all. I recommend you that you finish the story before reading the plan at the end.

Here are some further thoughts based on the book and my personal experience:

  • Vulnerability and conflict are so important for a team to be effective. Honesty and transparency leads to being able to discuss everyone’s ideas is an open forum no matter what they are.
  • Even though the book recommends Myers-Briggs as a tool to profile individuals, it is a very simplistic way to look at how a person behaves. There are other ways to do this (e.g. my team used Belbin in the past, which is very comprehensive).
  • In saying that, whatever makes the team open up and understand how each person will work to their maximum potential is welcomed.
  • I don’t agree with his aversion to achieving consensus. It can be a useful tool when a decision needs to be supported by the whole team.

This book is a must for anyone in a team leadership position, it will change the way you view team dynamics and could give you a way forward when you don’t know what to do with a problematic team.