The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team describes the many pitfalls that teams face as they seek to “grow together”. Let’s explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure.
The universal model outlined below has been embraced by virtually all types of organizations from multinational corporations to small businesses, to professional sports, to education, to churches, non-profits and more. Developing a cohesive executive team is a critical component to building a healthy organization.
The Five Dysfunctions
Absence of trust – an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.
- Fear of conflict – teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of key issues and ideas.
- Lack of commitment – without having their opinions aired during passionate and open debate, team members rarely buy in and commit to decisions, though they feign agreement during meetings.
- Avoidance of accountability – without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
- Inattention to results – when team members put their individual needs (ego, career, recognition) or even the needs of their divisions above the collective goals of the team.
A Functional Team
- They trust one another.
- They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.
- They commit to decisions and plans of actions.
- They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.
- They focus on the achievement of collective results.
It sounds simple, because it is simple, conceptually at least. In practice, however, it is extremely difficult because it requires levels of discipline and persistence that few teams can muster. Take the team assessment on the following page to gain insights into how your team is operating together right now!
Instructions: Use the scale below to indicate how each statement applies to your team. It is important to evaluate the statements honestly and without over-thinking your answers.
3 = Usually
2 = Sometimes
1 = Rarely
Scoring. Combine your scores for the preceding statements as indicated below. A score of 9 indicates a high score in this area. A score of 3 indicates a low score (opportunity for improvement) in this area.
Dysfunction 1: Absence of Trust Dysfunction 2: Fear of Conflict Dysfunction 3: Lack of Commitment