The 5 dysfunctions of a team

Patrick Lencioni is the author of a dozen books on business management, more specifically on team management. Known for his book titled The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he’s also the founder and CEO of The Table Group, a management consulting firm specializing in management team building and organizational health.

Trust

In this context, trust can be defined as follows: all team members have the certainty that the intentions of their peers are good. When trust is absent, team members will not be comfortable and willing to show vulnerability to their peers.


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Healthy conflicts

By creating a climate of confidence, a team allows for healthy conflicts because its members do not hesitate to engage in passionate discussions knowing that they will not be penalized for making critical comments. When there are no healthy confrontations, teammates cannot challenge their ideas openly and passionately, thoughts are veiled, and the comments that are made are not engaging ones.

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Genuine commitment

Engaging in healthy conflict and taking into account the opinion of all its members, a team can make decisions with complete confidence and commit to their implementation knowing that all ideas were considered. When there is no genuine commitment, team members rarely come to an agreement and commit to the decisions that were made even if they sometimes seem to have reached a mutual agreement during meetings.

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Mutual accountability

To be able to mutually take accountability for their behaviours and actions, the members of a team must have a clear idea of the expected results. When accountability is avoided, people hesitate to reproach their peers for the actions or behaviours that they consider unproductive and that could affect the team negatively.

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Team results

If team members do not take mutual accountability for their contribution, they will tend to focus on their personal needs instead of the team’s results and goals.

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How to go through each step?

There is no miracle solution; each team is different. The solution must be adapted to the team’s specific context. Moreover, the time required varies from one team to another and it may be long. The lack of confidence should be handled first. The further you go up in the pyramid, the more the solutions are team-specific.

Suggestions for building trust:

  • Plan team lunches.
  • Present and share information that is more personal in nature.
  • Use a questionnaire that is more personal in nature and share the results as a team.
  • Work in teams of two (and regularly change teammate).
  • Hold workshops in groups of three people.
  • Hold appreciation sessions to highlight the good moves.
  • Hold retrospective sessions during which each member’s good and bad moves are mentioned as well as areas for improvement.
  • Hold 360-degree feedback sessions, which allow to assess and manage observable behaviours and to improve performance by proposing development activities.
  • Conduct personality tests that can be discussed together.

Suggestions for healthy confrontations:

  • Conduct directed simulation exercises.
  • Establish methods and structures for discussions.
  • Address conflict head on by implementing clear rules.
  • Train leaders.
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Jean-Sébastien Sladecek

During his career, Jean-Sébastien has played many roles, including that of developer, software architecture consultant, and project manager. His experience acquired over the years allows him to always be in control throughout the process of implementing IT systems. Working since 1997 in systems development and consulting services, he has been using Agile approaches since 2006 and is a certified Professional Scrum Master (PSM I).

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