The 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team

  • Have you ever found yourself frustrated by the dynamics within your team, wondering why certain dysfunctions seem to persist despite your best efforts?
  • Are you curious to explore the intricacies of team dynamics and discover actionable strategies to overcome common challenges?
  • Do you aspire to lead your team towards a culture of trust, collaboration, and excellence, but feel unsure where to begin?
  • Have you ever wondered how to navigate conflicts constructively within your team, turning them into opportunities for growth and innovation?

Today, I dive into one of the most compelling facets of leadership literature, exploring insights from Patrick Lencioni’s masterwork: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

I share my profound admiration for this seminal work and how its principles resonate deeply with his own experiences.

Join me as I dissect the 5 layers of dysfunction within teams, which are the following: 

  1. Absence of Trust
  2. Fear of Conflict
  3. Lack of Commitment
  4. Avoidance of Accountability
  5. Inattention to Results
Listen now and gain invaluable strategies for fostering trust, managing conflict, fostering commitment, ensuring accountability, and driving towards impactful results within their own teams. Tune in for an enlightening journey through the intricacies of team dynamics, and discover how to cultivate a culture of collaboration, excellence, and success.
Share this episode with your friends and colleagues who can benefit from this!


The 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team 

[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to a new episode of The Effective Statistician and today I want to talk about one of my all-time favorite books around [00:00:10] leadership. Of course, I also have some books that I really love that have nothing to do with leadership. I like Lord of the Rings or things like that that I Really, really [00:00:20] love.

[00:00:20] Alexander: I also do read some books that have nothing to do with leadership, but I really love the leadership books. And this one is a book by [00:00:30] Patrick Lencioni. He wrote many books, but this one really stands out from the crowd, and I think I can highly encourage you to read it, [00:00:40] unless just the overview of what I’m speaking today about, helps you already.

[00:00:45] Alexander: So, This book is called The Five [00:00:50] Dysfunctions of a Team, and yes, that’s a pretty negative title, and yeah, maybe it sells just better if you talk about the negative sides, and these [00:01:00] dysfunctions you see all the time, and they work like a pyramid, yeah, so they build on each other, so. [00:01:10] And whenever there’s a dysfunction on a lower level, all the other levels don’t work, yeah?

[00:01:17] Alexander: So, you basically [00:01:20] need to start with the basement, yeah? With the first dysfunction, remove that, then the next, then the third, then the fourth, and then the last one. [00:01:30] And many teams already struggle with the first one. And that is the absence of trust. Okay. [00:01:40] You see that around all the time. I do a lot of training and people speak about this [00:01:50] in the training, you know, that there is a lack of trust.

[00:01:54] Alexander: And you can see that because People are afraid to [00:02:00] speak openly, are afraid to be vulnerable, yeah. People have the perception that they can’t say, [00:02:10] I don’t know, or that they can’t say, I don’t have time for that things like that. Now, if you are in a, [00:02:20] in a group and a project team and a study team where you fear like bringing up this idea, [00:02:30] then there’s already an absence of trust.

[00:02:34] Alexander: So you need to build that trust. Yeah. And I have [00:02:40] Maybe talked about this already in another episode, trust is based on three components, care, character, and competence. So [00:02:50] if all these three dimensions come together, care, character, and competence, then there is trust in the [00:03:00] relationship. And the bigger the team, the harder it is to build this trust.

[00:03:06] Alexander: And every time someone new comes into the team, you need [00:03:10] to kind of re establish the trust with this new team member. And yes, it takes time. So that’s why [00:03:20] it’s usually pretty good to also spend some time with the people outside of the regular project meetings. Yeah, to, yeah, have a [00:03:30] beer together with them, go to dinner together with them have these coffee chats, speak about things that are unrelated to work.

[00:03:38] Alexander: That very, very [00:03:40] often builds trust with people. The second layer in these five dysfunctions is conflict. And [00:03:50] yes, absence of conflict. Now you can say like isn’t conflict a bad thing? No, there is actually [00:04:00] always conflict. Yeah, there’s conflict in terms of your regulatory person wants to have it really safe and easy with the regulatory [00:04:10] submission and you want to have it maybe innovative.

[00:04:13] Alexander: And the project manager wants to have it really fast and cheap. And the physician wants [00:04:20] to do something that is innovative and that he can, you know, show off with his peers. All these different priorities. [00:04:30] compete with each other. And so there will always be conflict. Now, who is first on the authorship list, who actually gets on the [00:04:40] authorship list, who is goes to this conference, who is, you know, speaking to upper management, who gets a seat at [00:04:50] This meeting where there’s only two or three people allowed.

[00:04:53] Alexander: There’s always conflict and if the team [00:05:00] fears that conflict, the conflict is not resolved. And so lack of good conflict management, conflict [00:05:10] resolution, That is the second part. And usually it’s driven by fear. The next part is lack [00:05:20] of commitment, so that people don’t really buy into agreements. You see that, [00:05:30] especially if for example, if you’re in a team and whenever you have left the room, yeah, and [00:05:40] it’s a discussion, someone doesn’t follow up on it.

[00:05:44] Alexander: Yeah. So or someone says, Oh no, I have a different idea. [00:05:50] Yeah. So people don’t really kind of commit to doing something together.

[00:05:57] Alexander: If no, however, people [00:06:00] do trust each other. You have a good conflict management and people commit to things, then you can [00:06:10] have a problem with the next layer and that is lack of accountability. So people say, yeah, I want to do this, [00:06:20] but they don’t follow up. And of course that happens all the time. Yeah for some good reasons, [00:06:30] sometimes.

[00:06:30] Alexander: Yeah, but just because maybe it’s not a priority anymore, there’s something else coming, whatsoever. Yeah, now [00:06:40] accountability is that everybody in the team will hold each other accountable. [00:06:50] Yeah, not just the project manager that holds everybody accountable, yeah, but everybody holds each other accountable.

[00:06:59] Alexander: Someone also needs [00:07:00] to hold the project manager accountable, yeah, of doing these things. So help make sure that everybody [00:07:10] helps everybody accountable. And now, if that all works, so trust, conflict [00:07:20] commitment, accountability, there’s still the last one, and that is results. And here I speak about the results [00:07:30] of the team, not the benefits of the individuals.

[00:07:35] Alexander: Yeah. If everybody always kind of just thinks about [00:07:40] what’s in it for me and only do the things that is helpful for them, then you can’t work as a good team. [00:07:50] Yeah. If people can say, yeah, I’m okay to give in here for the benefit of the team. And if [00:08:00] everybody does that, then the team really, really works together in a, in You see that, for example, in sports teams, [00:08:10] yeah?

[00:08:11] Alexander: If, you know, the scorer only thinks about him and kind of the scoring thing and not about defense, well, it doesn’t [00:08:20] work, yeah? If the defense always just, you know, Make sure that there’s no goals scored from the other team. Well, you’ll not win because they [00:08:30] also need to help with offense. And I’m speaking about football or soccer here.

[00:08:35] Alexander: So but you can apply that to any kind of team sports. Yeah, [00:08:40] and the same is also within your team. And that can be a study team, a project team, or maybe a lead team, yeah? In a good [00:08:50] lead team, people will not just think about their empire. Yeah, but they will help each other, contribute to each [00:09:00] other. They will say, yeah, I see this high performer in my team will be better suited in your team.

[00:09:08] Alexander: Because [00:09:10] with all the trust and all the other things, that person knows next time if it’s the other way around, the other person will do the same. For the [00:09:20] benefit of the overall team. So, the five dysfunctions are absence of trust, fear of [00:09:30] conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

[00:09:36] Alexander: If you can make sure that all these [00:09:40] five come together, you will have a great team. And I can tell you. If you work in such a team, it’s fun. It’s [00:09:50] really, really fun, yeah? Will you have sometimes difficult things? Yes. Maybe it’s sometimes long hours. Yes. But overall, [00:10:00] it is a great, great experience. And then, if something works, isn’t working, yeah?

[00:10:08] Alexander: Always go [00:10:10] back to the lowest level that is not working. See whether there’s enough trust. If says trust. Do you speak about [00:10:20] conflict? If they speak about conflict, is there commitment, then accountability, and then in attention to results. And based on my [00:10:30] experience, very, very often teams already struggle with the trust part.

[00:10:35] Alexander: First invest in that part, building [00:10:40] trust. And here I repeat again, you build trust with others, If they feel that you’re competent, [00:10:50] that you have a good character, and that you take care of them. Competence, character, and care. [00:11:00] So, that’s another episode. Check out the show notes and you will find the link to the book.

[00:11:07] Alexander: And by the way, of course, we [00:11:10] talk about this also in the Effective Statistician Leadership Program. As this episode comes out, we are just beginning. [00:11:20] Two weeks away from starting the new open program. And maybe there are still some slots available. If there are, [00:11:30] just head over to the effective statistician.

[00:11:32] Alexander: com, find the leadership program with masterminds, and then you can sign up. If you listen to this. [00:11:40] Later in the year. Check out the homepage. Maybe there’s already a new one announced and we have a waiting list here, [00:11:50] so you can also get into the program. And once we have enough people, then we’ll start a new cohort for the effective leadership [00:12:00] program.

[00:12:00] Alexander: If you want to run this leadership program within your company, just reach out to me. That’s how we do it. Usually we organize [00:12:10] this within companies and then we have, I don’t know, 10, 20 or even more people from a company joining this program. 


Never miss an episode!

Join thousends of your peers and subscribe to get our latest updates by email!

Get the shownotes of our podcast episodes plus tips and tricks to increase your impact at work to boost your career!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit