In this book
In this book, the author Patrick Lencioni explained the fundamentals of teamwork by telling a fable. This fable is about a tech company trying to grow and sell their products. There is this new CEO Catherine identifies the potential of the company and its employee. However, the C-levels are not in the spirit of team working and therefore the company is being impacted in a non-positive way. They refused to accept any responsibility or come to any agreements, therefore moral is negatively affected. After reading the fable, the five dysfunctions of this particular team are rather obvious, i.e. absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. The very first thing to reduce confusion and misunderstanding within a team is to acknowledge that there are five dysfunctions and we can address them one by one.
Absence of trust
The reason why there is an absence of trust exists in a team is because team members won’t show their weakness. They need to open up with one another and be vulnerable.
The absence of trust is a complete waste of time and energy of team members because they invest their time and energy in a passive-aggressive manner. They refused to ask for help from each other or assist each other. Teams can tackle this dysfunction by sharing team members’ experiences, exhibiting their credibility, and growing useful ideas.
Fear of conflict
When teams don’t have trust within, they are incapable of fruitful discussion about anything that matters. This causes team members to pretend there is no conflict, i.e., avoiding conflict and reaching a stage of a fake harmony. When everyone in the team stops expressing their opinion, wrong decisions are often made. To tackle this dysfunction, we need to let team members know conflict is actually beneficial. We just need to be careful the way we debate over the conflict.
Lack of commitment
When there is no conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to their decisions which will create an environment filled with ambiguity. People will commit to their decisions if their own opinions are added in the process of decision making. Highly productive teams make decisions together and clear and they are not afraid they do not have the support of other team members. Tackle this problem is more about making sure team member’s opinion is heard.
Avoidance of accountability
Without the commitment from team members, the team does not have accountability. They are not going to hold each other accountable if they don’t think they are clearly included in that plan. In a properly-functioning team, it’s individual team members’ responsibility to hold one another accountable and be willing to be held accountable by other team members. Often times, measurement of the progress is the key to success. Tackle this dysfunction we need to make sure what team’s requirements are, by whom, what and when needs to be accomplished.
Inattention of the results
When all team members value the team’s results first, this is the moment a team truly becomes a result-oriented team. When individual team members aren’t held accountable, they will only pay attention to their own interests and overlook the interests of the whole team. To tackle this dysfunction, we need to make the team result clear and encourage the behaviors that make a contribution to the team.
The primary role of the leader in overcoming these dysfunctions is to lead by example and set the tone for the whole team. This includes being the first one to be vulnerable, encouraging debate and conflict, making responsibilities and deadlines clear, setting the team’s standards and last but not least being clear on the team’s results.
In order to diminish these dysfunctions, leaders should make oneself out of an example and set the tone for the team. This means leaders should be the first one to show vulnerability, engage in debate, does not shy away from conflict, demonstrating responsibilities transparent, set the team’s standards and be clear on the team’s result.
In conclusion, theories about successful teamwork are not going to work. Teamwork is about integrating discipline and persistence with common sense. Successful teams succeed because it has extraordinary people in them. Overcoming these dysfunctions is like all members of the team acknowledge their flaws first and then tackle them one by one.