The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a best seller by Patrick Lencioni who is a renowned speaker and consultant, was published in the year 2002 and since it’s publication it has helped many organizations in minimizing internal politics and cut throat behavior among employees of an organization. It has been helpful to the organizations in such a way that its effects were seen beyond the companies; in schools, government organizations, non government organizations, judiciary and political arena.
The author has successfully tried to explore the elementary reasons behind the internal politics and provided effective tips to prevail over basic human tendencies that beget such behavior in an organization. It seems that the author himself is well experienced with such things as he gives the idea about bottom to top; from the lowest unit to the top shot of organization, he has provided very easy and practical solutions to very complex problems The examples given in the book are so practical that one feels that this is the story of their own team, organization and real life. The book is written in business fiction format and has helped a huge numbers of organizations in solving their issues.
The story is about an old aged CEO, Kathryn Petersen who was hired to solve the issues of a company which was in first row and successful two years back and due to internal politics and Indian crab attitude of its executives, the performance of the company was adversely effected. When the new CEO took over the charge, the company was divided into various dysfunctional groups and its executives were involved in mud- slinging. CEO was old aged and had no prior experience of the current job; the company chairman had hired her due to her team building capacity and managerial skills which were proved by the CEO. Various hues of human behavior are depicted and also that how could be they dealt.
The author mentions that for a team leader, it is very important to have unity in team and team should work in same direction to achieve common goal. In his book author had described five dysfunctions of a team and how a leader should address them in following manner:
1) Absence of trust – Here author describes that the absence of trust among team member is the fear where person is afraid to being exposed and hide his weaknesses with in the team. Team members become more defensive which leads to wastage of time and could be used in right direction. It is very imperative for team leader to put emphasis on building trust among team members by providing them an environment where employees feel safe even when others know their weaknesses.
2) Fear of conflict – Maintaining the harmony is good, however if people are not providing their views and thoughts then it is a matter of serious concern. People some time prefer to sit back because of a fear that they do not want to get involve in to a conflict. When team members trust each others and have good team bonding then the possibility of a conflict goes high because they share their thoughts explicitly. For an individual and team to grow it is always required to have a healthy conflict instead of pinpointing each other and also to resolve the conflict with best possible solution for the good of team. Team leader should promote and support the occurrence of healthy conflicts. It helps in providing learning to team members because it is not necessary that one person is always right.
3) Lack of Commitment – After having a fruitful conflict it is very essential that all team members are on the same page and have full clarity about the decision. For a successful team it is very important that they have commitment from each and every team members. To satisfy and get commitment from all the team members it is required for all the team members to appreciate each others concerns and thoughts, ponder on the thought behind final decision and make every one understand the final decision. People who do not get involved into discussions, do not get truly committed as they may have different opinion then what the final decision is. Leader should analyze all the key decisions and allocate the responsibilities accordingly; it will help in getting commitment from the team members.
4) Avoidance of Accountability – when all the team members are clear about the decision and have full commitment, they will hold the responsibilities and will fulfill all the expectations. If team members are not having clear understanding about their responsibilities, it is very difficult to have accountability. For a team it is very important that all team members work together with high standards and holds each others responsibilities. For holding accountability each team member should know about their tasks and timeliness because when you are not clear what is expected from you and when it is not possible to be accountable.
5) Inattention to Results – For a strong team it requires to have team goal on top of the priority. When a team is not goal oriented and accountable, team members work for their own benefits and ultimately outcome suffers. Leader should make team goal very clear and measurable and also recognize and give reward to the best performers.
When Kathryn Petersen, new CEO took over the charge she realized that company is having enormous offerings/products and talented manpower however there is no positive energy among the employees. The base of the problem was people, who were not working towards the goal of organization and were not accountable towards the results and deadlines. All the employees were struggling with various problems and were unable to find out any solution. Team was unable to take any decision which resulted in decreasing the performance of company. New CEO implemented her skills in improving the behavior of employees and focused on forming a strong team which could take decisions with commitment from all the team members. The performance of each team member was measured and good performer was rewarded. All practices helped in improving the overall performance of company and resulted in increasing the share and better image of company.
Ambler, G. (2007, March 31). Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions of Team. Retrieved May 06, 2011, from The Practice of Leadership: http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net/2007/03/21/book-review-the-five-dysfunctions-of-a-team/