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Being a Team Member

Kirjoittanut: Jignaben Patel - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Patrick Lencioni
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.


A bad team with good teamwork, with everyone working in the same direction is better than a good team with outperforming members. It is the teamwork that wins. We all belong to a social group may it be our friends, family, Hobbies, clubs or even religion. Teams are very often while good teamwork is very rare, but, incredibly advantageous. All the teams have dysfunctions and challenges. Teamwork doesn’t depend on luck but is a choice, an action to take up the responsibility and make the best outcome of what you have got. There is a set of behaviours that work as a foundation for you to build your success on. Achieving them is simple but yet painful.


In order to achieve publicly, the team must ensure the private victory. Having a strong foundation on the inside is a crucial part of achieving targets. 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 (Lencioni, 2002). Trust is the first basic need for a successful relationship between the members. Members start to understand each other and open up to each other. The failure to have trust among the members can not help anything to work out. When team members cannot admit their mistakes, or ask a doubt, or talk about their struggles, they feel at risk and insecure amongst themselves having the fear of being judged. The team build an environment which helps its members to get better rather than feel that they are being crushed. A team with trust allows its members to admit their mistakes and weaknesses; giving each other benefits of improving in the areas which need improvement, and accepting and offering apologies. 


With the dysfunction of Trust, the team members, automatically try not to get involved in a conflict or debate which could have beneficial results. Communication provides clarity and opinions, without anyone fully sharing their opinions, it is impossible to come to the right conclusions. However, the tension between the members and paradigms about other members meddles with their ability to understand each other and they are afraid that others feel the same. This prevents them from having an educative debate with genuine topics and concerns. The fear of having a conflict, and not speaking of their minds, creates inferior decisions. A team that can have an interesting meeting, with solutions and genuine discussions, has successfully achieved the characteristics of having a conflict without any fear or goal of judgment.


After gaining solutions and a direction to work towards, the team now starts working. Working together towards a common goal. However, due to the successful outcomes in the previous areas, the members are often afraid of experiencing failure. The team starts to experience ambiguity in the work they do and inspect confusion in their decisions. With fear in, the ream starts having a difficult time making new decisions and starts second-guessing themselves. Windows of opportunity start closing after excessive analysis and overthinking. When one member of the team starts to fail in having a commitment, he or she creates an atmosphere (unconsciously) that forces other members to fear failure too. The team cannot accept changes in the direction of their work. Deadlines, work quality, attitude, decisions and commitment start to shrink leaving behind a team with good relations but bad work organization.


Commitment brings the team to work together. Because of the lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members develop an avoidance of accountability, the fourth dysfunction. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviours that seem counterproductive to the good of the team (Lencioni, 2002). When the focus shifts to performance, some members might bring down the performance of the rest of the group by encouraging mediocracy. The team cannot hold anyone responsible for the activities. To stop the avoidance of accountability, the team must hold regular meetings where team members keep track of their performances. Team rewards also help in encouraging the members to work harder each time. A team with accountability ensures that the pressure in the atmosphere makes the poor performers feel the need to improve. They also hold respect for everyone so that anyone can talk about the problems they are facing without hesitation.


Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive. Inattention to results occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) or even the needs of their divisions above the collective goals of the team. Everyone has their personal lives, however, the members must make sure that their lives do not meddle with the operation of the team. Inattention to results might be caused because of distractions, and lack of motivation. A team that pays attention towards the results likes to achieve success and experience failures acutely, avoids distractions, keeps up a well-oriented performance, and can be held responsible for their decisions. This team can stay motivated for a long period of time and has a high chance of being successful.


Overall, there might be some deflects in some members which are natural for humans. The response and actions of the team members hold the importance. Following the needs can help the team function properly whilst creating a healthy environment for the members to work in harmony. The book, The Fine Dysfunctions of a Team, mentions all the possible deflections a team might have and ways of fixing them.



Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A leadership fable. http://ci.nii.ac.jp/ncid/BA5846175X

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