The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable The Five Dysfunctions of a Team discussion


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message 1: by Drew (new)

Drew The Five Dysfunctions of a Team A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
If you have read “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” you probably have had many thoughts about the various dysfunctions and other topics the book discussed. One topic in the book that I found particularly interesting was the idea of the group members working towards a team goal and not working for themselves. Basically, the members care more about the team being successful than they do about themselves having individual success. I have always been torn on this topic for one main reason and they kind of discuss it in the book. At some point or another I thought if everyone in a team had individual success that the team would have success. The way I always thought about it was that if a baseball team has a lot of players hitting and fielding well then they would be successful. However, I never stopped to think that the individual success those players might have can be a product of all the team practices and other work that goes into baseball. I also didn’t realize that in the business world a really bad person can wreck the group. That doesn’t really happen in sports as much.
The example I like to use from the book is Mikey’s situation. Mikey was never really committed to the team and from the beginning it looked like she wasn’t going to fit with everybody. Mikey’s job was basically to promote the product. At one point she shows the rest of the executive team a set of flyers she had made for a new product they were releasing. Everybody was extremely impressed with the work she had done and it seemed like she was the only one on schedule with the task at hand. Even in that setting though she was being snarky and rude after receiving compliments. Even though Mikey’s work was awesome, she never did anything extra to help others in the group. All she cared about was her department and their work. She could not see the overall goal and didn’t care what the other groups were struggling with. Kathryn could see this and tried giving Mikey time to change and even told her she needed to. Mikey chose not to though and was fired for it. The group’s performance improved shortly after she had left.
This doesn’t mean that individual success isn’t important, it just means that sometimes the team goal can be more important and team success kind of reflects individual success anyways. The story that Kathryn tells the rest of the team after Mikey was fired really resonated with me. She talks about how one person in her former team was doing all the work for an entire team and was doing great but it slowly showed that the team was falling apart. The quality of the work began to fall because the one man was doing everything but everyone else wasn’t really doing anything. Team morale almost didn’t exist and nobody worked together at all. Eventually the man was fired and a couple other people were hired to fill the void and the company became much more successful. Before, with Mikey we saw a situation where somebody was only doing their own work and not helping anyone else. This is an example where the one employee was doing work for the entire office and having tremendous individual success. This was not really efficient and it was eating away at the success of the entire company.
What I am trying to get at is that you have to find a happy medium between doing your own work only and only helping out everybody else. Doing your own work and not caring about others around you will lead to one department being successful and another may fall behind because you couldn’t offer to help them out. Doing too much for the group will only force them to rely on you more and more. The work you are doing may also take a dive because you may have to large of workload for you to complete satisfactory. My philosophy is that you should strive to complete your work to the best of your ability. Then when someone else needs help you can pitch in to help out the company and not just your department.


message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily Elizabeth The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a fictional story demonstrating the different obstacles that may potentially play a role in failed teamwork within the work place. Lencioni does an exceptional job at simply defining The Five Dysfunctions using fictional characters in a work place that struggle with all five of the dysfunctions by showing the reader how to resolve those issues. Each character has his or her own personality and tendencies that play into their role as one of the team members. This demonstrates a straightforward situation that is fairly practical to issues within the work place. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team are, lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. Each of the dysfunctions plays a strong role in the ability to act and work as a team.
Teamwork is a very valuable tool to achieve success and not everyone needs to have been on an athletic team to know what it takes to work as a team and be a team member. After reading this book and discussing different ideas with classmates I decided to focus on the idea of individual vs. team goals. I analyzed reviews on this book on www.goodreads.com and saw that many of the people who read this book found it to be helpful in their personal lives and in their careers. However some of the readers found it to be just another book about a simplistic theory that is meaningless and only applies to certain situations. The people who wrote this type of review came off in a defensive tone. Within the book Lencioni addresses this type of behavior as someone who has a difficult time with the fourth dysfunction, avoidance of accountability. Although, it is unfair to assume this from a simple review, there were certain phrases that stuck out to me and made me feel that people who reacted to the text in a defensive way resembled one of the characters in the book, perhaps Mikey. If you have read the book you would have observed that Mikey is a difficult character to communicate with. She has tendencies to feel she is superior to her co-workers and takes feed back personally causing her to come off defensive. This type of behavior resembles someone who could potentially hold back a team and their successes, being able to take constructive criticism from teammates strengthens a team altogether. This idea supports a quote by Kathryn, the CEO, from the text: “Great teams do not hold back with one another... they admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concern without fear of reprisal.” The information I collected from the book, as well as the reviews, allowed me to choose the topic of the good of the many vs. the good of one, or in other words, individual vs. personal team goals.
In a team there is more than one person and to think that multiple people will agree on everything is extremely unrealistic that is why there needs to be an established common team goal. In the book the CEO, Kathryn, talks about the ultimate dysfunction of status and ego (inattention to results). This kind of dysfunction happens when one person’s ego affects an entire teams results and successes. Kathryn states her idea of the ultimate dysfunction as, “ the tendency of team members to seek out individual recognition and attention at the expense of results... collective results-the goal of the entire team.” In this situation, Kathryn is explaining to her staff that sometimes one persons need for recognition can overpower their desire for the overall team success. In my own personal experiences with team conflict having a person on your team that focuses on their personal goals rather than the team goals could very easily hurt the chances of the overall team goal to be reached. When teams come together with a conjoined ego for success they will be more successful, if a team has the confidence that they will succeed together then they are already a stronger team.
The discussion my team members and I had in class stemmed from the idea that one person’s actions can alter the quality of an entire team. During class discussion we talked about what we thought to be important in a team setting. One of the points that were made actually came from the book; each member needs to be engaged. When every member is engaged in discussion critical issues can be resolved and new ideas can be introduced. If some people in the group don’t join in on discussion new ideas for better success are not deemed importance resulting in little resolution. We concluded that being an individual and having the confidence to speak your mind is a powerful trait to add to a team. The key to using individual confidence in a team is to recognize your weaknesses and acknowledge that others strengths may be your weakness and vice versa. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team allowed us as a team to identify our strengths and weaknesses and apply them to our group discussions in class. Hopefully this book was as informative to you as a reader, colleague, leader or team member as it was to my classmates and I. I will take the ideas from this book and try to apply them in my life as a student, teammate, and staff member to better whatever team setting I may be apart of. This book is a must read and is critical to enhance people skills all around.


message 3: by Megan (new)

Megan Morson The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni really made me think about the way people work within a group setting and how they can more effectively maneuver these groups. His book focuses on a pyramid that describes the main dysfunctions and how to overcome them. Lencioni made the best points when it came to status and ego, and trust. Without one, you cannot have the other, and without your ego in check and solid trust, you will never be able to be a truly proficient team.
Status and ego on the basic level are fairly easy to understand in a teamwork sense. You have to be able to put your pride aside in certain situations in order for your team to be effective. You must also be willing to put everything into the team and not make decisions to solely benefit yourself. Kathryn, the main character, makes the point that, “Our job is to make the results that we need to achieve so clear to everyone in this room that no one would even consider doing something purely to enhance his or her individual status or ego. Because that would diminish our ability to achieve our collective goals. We would all lose.” This quote is so powerful because it is completely true. Putting the group success before your own is extremely important in any kind of teamwork situation because it shows your willingness to do whatever it takes to receive the best outcome. This philosophy can go a long way in gaining trust from your group members as well. If you are constantly doing things that are only going to help yourself, it shows your team that you are more focused on yourself then the actual task at hand.
The concept of trust can also be very simple to understand but actually implementing ideas to create trust can be much more difficult. As I stated earlier, putting the groups goals above personal goals can be one way to gain the trust of group members but there is much more to trust then just completing the tasks at hand. Kathryn also states, “The fact is, if we don’t trust one another—and it seems to me that we don’t—then we cannot be the kind of team that ultimately achieves results. And so that is where we’re going to focus first.” She then goes on to say, “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.” To be an effective team you must be willing to put yourself out there on a more personal level. I think you have to get to know your group outside of just the work environment to be able to build strong relationships that are both effective and lasting.
Getting to know people on a more personal level creates trust and understanding. Understanding you may ask, an understanding of what? Getting to know people’s lives on a more personal level will help you understand why someone isn’t pulling their weight at a certain time or in a certain situation. For example, if someone has something happening in their personal life, they may be less focused on their job within the group and I think it’s important to understand that. Work isn’t everything and being able to trust in your teammates to help you in difficult times or feeling close enough to your partners to be willing to help them is important.
Trust and ego go hand-in-hand. You can’t have trust without breaking down your ego and status. This same quote from above, “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.”, can also be used to describe ego and status. Admitting mistakes and being unafraid to air your dirty laundry breaks down a strong ego and brings people to the same personal level while creating trust. Without the concept of ego and status you cannot have effective trust.
Once your ego is in the right place and you begin trusting more effectively you can truly create good outcomes and be a solid team. Kathryn makes an observation, saying, “I’d have to say that more than anything I’ve been told by others, I see a trust problem here in the lack of debate that exists during staff meetings and other interactions among this team.” Debate and positive conflict are extremely important to create real solutions and until you have the trust in each other to feel as if you can criticize your team, you will never truly accomplish tasks to the best of your ability.
Overall, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni gave a very good overview of how and why we need to check our egos and create trust within an organization. It showed that to create a good team you need more than just a group of smart people, but a good attitude about how to work together and an understanding of what you need to do to create that. The book showed me that no matter who is in a group it can be effective with the right attitude and steps.


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