Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Impressions after reading  

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is not a book written in any way about education, but it is just as relevant to anyone building a management team in any school, and is in my opinion a MUST read.

Lencioni tells a story of leadership based on a fictional corporate executive team, identifying five “dysfunctions” within the team – absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. The book contains a detailed model for diagnosing the five dysfunctions and shares exercises and techniques to use to address them within your own teams. The advice is straightforward, simply explained and really easy to follow, and the book contains a questionnaire which you can use to evaluate your own team. (There is also a great YouTube presentation which I have used a lot in school, where Lencioni delivers the full story HERE).

Key Points

  • absence of trust
  • fear of conflict
  • lack of commitment
  • avoidance of accountability
  • inattention to results
  • how to identify them in your own team
  • ideas and resources to do this

 Is it based on proper research?

No:  Lencioni is telling a fictional story, based on his many real experiences, but the book does not provide any corresponding literature or links to research from other work to reinforce the points he makes.  The ‘real-world’ practicality is the strongest aspect of this book I think.

 Some Quotes from “Five Dysfunctions”

‘When everyone is focussed on results and using those to define success, it is difficult for ego to get out of hand….No matter how good an individual on the team might be feeling about his or her situation, if the team loses, everyone loses.’

‘If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict.’

‘The point here is that most reasonable people don’t have to get their way in a discussion. They just need to be heard, and to know that their input was considered and responded to.’

‘The kind of trust that is characteristic of a great team requires team members to make themselves vulnerable to one another and be confident that their respective vulnerabilities will not be used against them.’

‘The two greatest causes of a lack of commitment are the desire for consensus and the need for certainty.’

‘Members of great teams improve their relationships by holding one another accountable, thus demonstrating that they respect each other and have high expectations for one another’s performance.’


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