May 24, 2021
Book Review: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”
"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A Leadership Fable" by Patrick Lencioni is a quick read that will pack a punch in how we lead others in our daily work lives. John Tooley promises you will not regret purchasing this book.
By: John Tooley
This is the sixth in my book review series I’ve written for the Building Performance eJournal. The books I write about in this series are books that have changed my life and have given me guidance during good and hard times. I am blessed to have many mentors, and I hope these books can help others achieve their full potential.
“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni is a quick read that will pack a punch in how we lead others in our daily work lives. I promise you will not regret purchasing this book.
In keeping with the parable style, Lencioni begins by telling the fable of a woman who, as CEO of a struggling Silicon Valley firm, took control of a dysfunctional executive committee and helped its members succeed as a team. Storytime over, Lencioni offers explicit instructions for overcoming the human behavioral tendencies that he says corrupt teams. The five dysfunctions, he says, are:
- Absence of trust—unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
- Fear of conflict—seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
- Lack of commitment—feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
- Avoidance of accountability—ducking the responsibility to call peers or superiors on counterproductive behavior, which sets low standards
- Inattention to results—focusing on personal success rather than team success
Therefore, the characteristics of a cohesive team are trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. If each is maximized, it will result in a team that operates as efficiently and effectively as possible. Succinct yet sympathetic, this guide will be a boon for those struggling with the inherent difficulties of leading a group.
Building a cohesive team is not complicated, declares Lencioni. Departing from the dry, theoretical writing of many management books, he presents his case in the context of a fictional organization, and in doing so succeeds at communicating his ideas.
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