The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams. Kathryn Petersen, D...

Title:The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
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Edition Language:English

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable Reviews

  • Neil

    I've been in corporate America for just under 4 years now. In my time, I've never really bought into the majority of management strategies I've seen because well, they blatantly do not work; and if they do, its at an absurd cost of employee retention, dissatisfaction and needless overwork.

    Passive aggressiveness, no accountability, scared of conflict... I see it too often, and I'm constantly frustrated by it. And just when I thought I was alone, I read this book and was completely blown away. Eve

    I've been in corporate America for just under 4 years now. In my time, I've never really bought into the majority of management strategies I've seen because well, they blatantly do not work; and if they do, its at an absurd cost of employee retention, dissatisfaction and needless overwork.

    Passive aggressiveness, no accountability, scared of conflict... I see it too often, and I'm constantly frustrated by it. And just when I thought I was alone, I read this book and was completely blown away. Everything I've felt, is here, written down in this book. Its quite extraordinary. I feel a bit like Jerry Mcguire did after writing his 'Mission Statement.' I want to buy copies of this book and put it in the mailboxes of management across corporate America. Unfortunately, one thing I've learned in life is you can't force people to change, they have to be willing and accepting to move forward on there own... or be forced by a higher hand. I can't force others who don't see it themselves, and as the low man on the totem pole, its a hard to play the upper hand. But dammit, at least I'll go down swinging, knowing I'm not alone.

  • jack

    forced to read this one for work. did some awful group work with it also. really not that helpful in a bullshit retail situation.

  • Jacob

    Bear with me. I am highly skeptical of models as methods versus tools (I will explain later) and of corporate literature. With that bias, this book would have been lucky to get three stars from me. Please keep that in mind.

    What I mean by a model as a method versus a tool, is that when a model is presented to help people try and understand how something functions I have no problem with it. Meyers-Briggs personality test is a great example. Fun to take and compare with people and get an idea of wh

    Bear with me. I am highly skeptical of models as methods versus tools (I will explain later) and of corporate literature. With that bias, this book would have been lucky to get three stars from me. Please keep that in mind.

    What I mean by a model as a method versus a tool, is that when a model is presented to help people try and understand how something functions I have no problem with it. Meyers-Briggs personality test is a great example. Fun to take and compare with people and get an idea of where they come from. But if you are a borderline on any of the 4 pairs then depending on your mood you can easily have 2 even 4 different likely personality types. And there are 7 billion people in the world and only 16 types--they don't all fit in those 16 categories. When someone takes a model and tries to impose it on the world and say this is the way things are, then I balk.

    Regarding corporate literature in general, I won't say that it is useless, because it certainly isn't, but it has only a fractional effect as compared to actually experiencing working in a good team or for a good leader. It can be helpful but pales beside a good leader pulling you aside to help you.

    The "fable" itself? Actually not that bad for a teamwork book. The whole thing is stilted because it is wrapped around an agenda but on the good side it is short, easy to read, and decently written. And I honestly can't say the five points are wrong--I think they are all valid.

    There are much worse teamwork or leadership books out there. If you have to read one, or are genuinely interested in this genre then pick it up. Otherwise I wouldn't use your valuable time. Two stars.

  • Marleigh

    First line: "Only one person thought Kathryn was the right choice to become CEO of DecisionTech, Inc.

    Summary: Lencioni identifies five problems with executive teams, which he presents through a story (fable) and then analyzes.

    Spoilers! In as much as reference books can have spoilers.

    The 5 dysfunctions are:

    1. Absence of trust. Where trust is comfort with showing vulnerability and admitting mistakes to teammates.

    2. Fear of conflict. Teams need to be able to have passionate debate and walk away

    First line: "Only one person thought Kathryn was the right choice to become CEO of DecisionTech, Inc.

    Summary: Lencioni identifies five problems with executive teams, which he presents through a story (fable) and then analyzes.

    Spoilers! In as much as reference books can have spoilers.

    The 5 dysfunctions are:

    1. Absence of trust. Where trust is comfort with showing vulnerability and admitting mistakes to teammates.

    2. Fear of conflict. Teams need to be able to have passionate debate and walk away with no collateral damage. Lencioni describes a “false harmony” that is a sign of this.

    3. Lack of commitment. Phoning it in rather than buying into the project. The key here is while not everyone gets their way, they should all be heard and their opinions considered and valued.

    4. Avoidance of accountability. Here, they’re talking about teammates being able to call each other on poor performance, rather than having all accountability done by the team leader.

    5. Inattention to results. In particular, putting personal goals above team goals.

    They seems like fine goals. I'm a little unclear how to achieve them, despite the suggestions in the back. I also feel like point 2 could easily be misconstrued. Permission to have passionate debate does not mean permission to be an asshole. Actually, I think Lencioni usually uses the term "argument," while I prefer "debate" because I think it frames the issue in a more civil way.

    Anyway, it had some interesting thoughts, and it certainly was a quick read. The story was lousy for fiction, though great for a reference book, and it did illustrate the problems.

  • Daniel Silvert

    Five Dysfunctions of a Team

    As a consultant who has worked with hundreds of teams in organizations large and small, I can attest that model outlined in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is both accurate in it’s root diagnosis of team dysfunctionalism, and is as pervasive as human nature itself. As with all of Lencioni’s books, he opens with a fable and concludes with the model that is the basis for the story’s solution. In the fable, a new CEO is confronted with a dysfunctional executive team and

    Five Dysfunctions of a Team

    As a consultant who has worked with hundreds of teams in organizations large and small, I can attest that model outlined in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is both accurate in it’s root diagnosis of team dysfunctionalism, and is as pervasive as human nature itself. As with all of Lencioni’s books, he opens with a fable and concludes with the model that is the basis for the story’s solution. In the fable, a new CEO is confronted with a dysfunctional executive team and pressure from the board to execute a quick turn around. As she feels out how the current culture impacts collaboration, idea generation, and execution, the CEO gradually works through each stage of the Five Dysfunctions model to re-position the company for success.

    The model in pyramid form:

    Lack of trust: In this bottom stage, team members are hesitant to open up about their fears or insecurities about a project.

    Fear of Conflict: Fearing retribution or political consequences, team members avoid rigorous debate over the issues and decisions that matter most. This can be reinforced by local legends: “The last time somebody challenged the boss’s idea, he wasn’t around for long afterwards.” Healthy, constructive conflict – or candor – is key to surfacing the best ideas. Fear of conflict snuffs out the creative process.

    Lack of Commitment: Lack of vigorous debate does not prevent decisions from being made. Low team involvement in how decisions are shaped and carried out leads to weak buy- in.

    Avoidance of Accountability: When commitment is low, excuses are readily available when results are not achieved. “We all knew this was un-realistic to begin with, now you’re going to hold us accountable?”

    Inattention to Results: At this pinnacle stage, team members are investing valuable time and energy in the politics of self-protection. Obsessive email trails are stored for easy retrieval, stories are honed that explain where the break down occurred and by whom. It’s every ‘team’ member for him or herself. The collective concept is crushed.

    In highly functional teams the pyramid, inverted, is just as relevant: High levels of trust leads to healthy, constructive candor in the service of unearthing the best ideas. Fully engaged team members feel high levels of commitment, because while their particular idea may not have won, they’re perspective was heard and respected. This feeds a focus on individual and collective accountability to achieve the goals agreed upon, which requires near total focus upon delivering results.

    Lencioni captures the human essence of teamwork and connects the dots from trust to profit. Highly recommended.

  • Nikki

    This is a one of the best business novels out there. I love the idea of introducing concepts through a storyline of a fictional organization. The only thing better would be if it were based on actual events that was told in story form.

    Kathryn is a CEO who takes over a company struggling with its market share and profit. She has the courage to attack the difficult issues rarely losing her composure and delivers criticism in a way that it mostly encourages discussion and positive conflict. I canno

    This is a one of the best business novels out there. I love the idea of introducing concepts through a storyline of a fictional organization. The only thing better would be if it were based on actual events that was told in story form.

    Kathryn is a CEO who takes over a company struggling with its market share and profit. She has the courage to attack the difficult issues rarely losing her composure and delivers criticism in a way that it mostly encourages discussion and positive conflict. I cannot say I have come across any managers in corporate America who are effective as Kathryn. However, I am convinced she must exist amongst us in the real world. On the other hand I find the dysfunctions described in this short novel to be on point and rampant it manufacturing facilities and offices across the country. As difficult as it is to admit, I saw myself a couple of times in some of the characters. I still think it would be a tall order to effectively change the dynamics of work teams across this great country. We are a culture based on competition and individual success and it will be quite challenging to change that direction. Challenging but not impossible.

    I

  • Vam Norrison

    I'm relatively new to the corporate world and observe heavy reliance on inane hierarchical-pyramid models and very linear "cycles" designed to describe organizations, relationships, goals, processes, progress and, ultimately, success. 'Five Dysfunctions' is a great example. While I'd love to rip into this book's awkward narrative structure, cartoonish characters, and childish melodrama, I'm certain many already have. If this book is to be considered a fable, it is only for its oversimplification

    I'm relatively new to the corporate world and observe heavy reliance on inane hierarchical-pyramid models and very linear "cycles" designed to describe organizations, relationships, goals, processes, progress and, ultimately, success. 'Five Dysfunctions' is a great example. While I'd love to rip into this book's awkward narrative structure, cartoonish characters, and childish melodrama, I'm certain many already have. If this book is to be considered a fable, it is only for its oversimplification and pretensions to wisdom. Life is a messy, confusing thing. 'Five Dysfunctions' is no better than a toy compass on your journey through it. One redemptive, practical use for this book might be reading it with everyone in your dysfunctional group to provide a framework vocabulary to discuss real issues. (Also, if anyone has a passionate hatred for its structure and content, promote them.)

  • المدرب محمد الملا

    Simply, this book is "Must read books" list, I liked the story way to write the book, and the simple make Sense model of the five dysfunctions of teams

    I already recommended this books to my friends, it's must read for every one

    I will recommend that the reader should be ware of "Tuckman's stages of group development" which will put this book in the right context

  • Amanda NEVER MANDY

    This is another one of my “have to” and not “want to” reads. I would never even consider reading one of these types of books for fun, they are not my style at all. The information they contain is usually common sense stuff that people are aware of but unwilling or unable to incorporate into their day-to-day work lives. Most jobs are group based versus individual and even if you are in the mindset to make whatever changes that books like this deem necessary, it doesn’t mean everyone else you work

    This is another one of my “have to” and not “want to” reads. I would never even consider reading one of these types of books for fun, they are not my style at all. The information they contain is usually common sense stuff that people are aware of but unwilling or unable to incorporate into their day-to-day work lives. Most jobs are group based versus individual and even if you are in the mindset to make whatever changes that books like this deem necessary, it doesn’t mean everyone else you work with is.

    Thankfully the author makes dry material into something tolerable by sharing his message in a story format and doesn’t bog the book down with graphs, sample work sheets and quizzes. It’s pretty basic and to the point with identifying problems and offering solutions. The length was acceptable as well as the writing style so I would place it a little higher on my Dull Jane shelf. I suppose if I had to recommend one of these things I would this one over quite a few others, especially if you wanted to know why your team sucked and how you could improve it.

  • Stephanie

    How lovely if things were actually this simple.


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