Five Problems All Teams Face

Five Problems All Teams Face

In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni  identifies the five major problems all teams must overcome in order to become a high performing unit.  Today we’ll take a look at the five dysfunctions model to get a good understanding of these issues so you can identify any that may be present with your team.

Five Dysfunctions Model

Dysfunction #1 –Absence of Trust

The first dysfunction is the absence of trust. Members of teams with an absence of trust conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another. They hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback.  They hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility and jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them.  These teams fail to recognize and tap into one another’s skills and experiences while wasting time and energy managing their own behaviors for effect.  Teams without trust hold grudges and dread meetings so they find reasons to avoid spending time together.

Dysfunction #2 – Fear of Conflict

The second dysfunction is fear of conflict.  Teams that fear conflict have boring meetings and create environments where back-channel politics and personal attacks thrive. They ignore controversial topics that are critical to team success and fail to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of team members.  These teams waste time and energy with posturing and interpersonal risk management.

Dysfunction #3 – Lack of Commitment

The third dysfunction is lack of commitment.  A team that fails to commit creates ambiguity among the team about direction and priorities. It  watches windows of opportunity close due to excessive analysis and unnecessary delay.  These teams breed lack of confidence and fear of failure.  They often revisit discussions and decisions again and again. Lack of commitment encourages second-guessing among team members.

Dysfunction #4 – Avoidance of Accountability

The fourth dysfunction is avoidance of accountability.  A team that avoids accountability creates resentment among team members who have different standards of performance.  This encourages mediocrity and missing deadlines and key deliverables.  Avoidance of accountability places an undue burden on the team leader as the sole source of discipline.

Dysfunction #5 – Inattention to Results

The fifth and final dysfunction is inattention to results. A team that is not focused on results rarely defeats competitors, loses achievement-oriented employees, and encourages team members to focus on their own careers and individual goals.  These teams are easily distracted and fail to grow.

How About You?

So how many of these dysfunctions did you identify with your team?  What areas do you need to work on?  Our next installment will talk about “Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

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