5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Our team at Central is going through Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Most of the book is a leadership story that encapsulates the principles in the book. The story itself is definitely what makes the book good. The explanation afterward is somewhat dry but it makes sure that each of the concepts is explained.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from it:

“If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

This is an amazing idea to think about. Whatever industry you are in, teamwork can make all the difference at whether you succeed.

“And as harsh as that may sound, Ken always says that his job is to create the best team possible, not to shepherd the careers of individual athletes. And that’s how I look at my job.”

This is from the story part of the book, but I loved the idea that as a leader the team must always be the focus, not the benefit of individuals. This is hard for me. I’d like to think that there could be a win-win in most scenarios but I think that leaders need to know in advance which way to choose if they ever become at odds.

“Some people are hard to hold accountable because they are so helpful. Others because they get defensive. Others because they are intimidating. I don’t think it’s easy to hold anyone accountable, not even your own kids.”

Pretty self explanatory, but so good.

There is also a pyramid of the five dysfunctions and it looks like this:

“These dysfunctions can be mistakenly interpreted as five distinct issues that can be addressed in isolation of the others. But in reality they form an interrelated model, making susceptibility to even one of them potentially lethal for the success of a team.”

“And so, like a chain with just one link broken, teamwork deteriorates if even a single dysfunction is allowed to flourish.”

Finally, the most powerful insight to me was the need for peer to peer accountability. When I look at how I have run my own team, I realize that I haven’t stressed this area enough. Instead of the leader carrying the burden for accountability, he or she can disperse it throughout the team to supplement his or her own efforts. As Lencioni explains:

“As politically incorrect as it sounds, the most effective and efficient means of maintaining high standards of performance on a team is peer pressure. One of the benefits is the reduction of the need for excessive bureaucracy around performance management and corrective action. More than any policy or system, there is nothing like the fear of letting down respected teammates that motivates people to improve their performance.”

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Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan husband, father, executive pastor, and student of truth

10 Comments

Dan

about 3 years ago

Just read this book with my corporate team. Excellent read!

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jeremy

about 3 years ago

Thanks Dan!

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Dan King

about 3 years ago

Jeremy, Thanks for the info on what appears to be another great book. When I finish what I'm currently reading (Through My Eyes from Tim Tebow) I frequently look at your past reading lists and often choose one off of there. I will definitely be reading this next! I could use it when trying to lead my band mates. I think we are stuck in that 3rd set of the pyramid you shoe (lack of commitment). I also love the idea of having the peer to peer accountability. We definitely lack that and would be great if we could obtain that. If you're looking for referrals of good books that I read last year, you can check those out here: http://crookedhaloblog.com/reading-list/2011-2/

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jeremy

about 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing Dan! It will be interesting to see how this book helps the dynamics within a band.

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Joanne Butler

about 3 years ago

Please send a copy of this book to our President!

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jeremy

about 3 years ago

Haha, I'll see what I can do!

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Mike Fisher

about 2 years ago

I guess I'll need to read this one...the idea: "as harsh as that may sound, Ken always says that his job is to create the best team possible, not to shepherd the careers of individual athletes. And that’s how I look at my job.” Well that may be good IF you can keep that behavior compartmentalized and apply it to a team. The problem is that almost everyone lacks the ability to do so - once we find something that works (and sometimes even things that don't) they bleed over into other areas of our life. It would become very easy to justify treating someone coldly using this idea.

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