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Are we all a bit dysfunctional? A leadership fable that may well resonate and make you smile too

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A perfect team may be something we've achieved, led, or been a part of. If you have, congratulations! Many of us mere mortals are still striving to achieve utopia. Here's a story about dysfunction and a tale of how it can be addressed. A lovely, easy read, it'll make you smile at some point for sure.

In his fabled book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” author Patrick Lencioni describes five common problems that can prevent teams from reaching their full potential. These dysfunctions include absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. By addressing these issues, organisations can improve teamwork, increase productivity, and achieve better outcomes. This is simple stuff, but not necessarily easy.  It takes sustained, consistent effort and the rewards are massive.

Absence of Trust

The first dysfunction that Lencioni describes is an absence of trust. When team members don’t trust each other, they are less likely to share their thoughts and ideas openly, leading to missed opportunities and decreased collaboration. Organisations can address this dysfunction by encouraging team members to get to know each other on a personal level and promoting open communication. By building trust within the team, organisations can create a more supportive and collaborative environment.

Fear of Conflict

The second dysfunction that Lencioni describes is a fear of conflict. When team members are afraid to disagree with each other or share their concerns, it can lead to groupthink and missed opportunities. Organisations can address this dysfunction by creating a safe space for healthy debate and encouraging constructive feedback. By embracing conflict and learning to manage it effectively, organisations can achieve better decision-making and more innovative solutions.

Lack of Commitment

The third dysfunction that Lencioni describes is a lack of commitment. When team members don’t fully commit to a decision or plan, it can lead to indecision and lack of progress. Organisations can address this dysfunction by ensuring that team members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and are aligned around shared goals and objectives. By fostering a sense of shared ownership and accountability, organisations can increase commitment and drive results.

Avoidance of Accountability

The fourth dysfunction that Lencioni describes is avoidance of accountability. When team members are not held accountable for their actions, it can lead to a lack of follow-through and missed deadlines. Organisations can address this dysfunction by setting clear expectations and consequences for performance, and providing regular feedback and coaching. By creating a culture of accountability, organisations can ensure that team members are motivated to achieve their goals and take ownership of their work.

Inattention to Results

The final dysfunction that Lencioni describes is inattention to results. When team members prioritise their individual goals over the team’s goals, it can lead to a lack of focus and missed opportunities. Organisations can address this dysfunction by creating a culture of shared success, where team members are aligned around common goals and focused on achieving results. By celebrating successes and learning from failures, organisations can create a more dynamic and results-driven team.

Lencioni’s five dysfunctions book provides a valuable framework for organisations to identify and address common team issues. By building trust, embracing conflict, increasing commitment, fostering accountability, and focusing on results, organisations can create a more productive and effective team. By adopting Lencioni’s principles, organisations can improve teamwork, increase productivity, and achieve better outcomes.

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Pete Williams

Leaders Protocol

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