The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Introduction

Someone recently recommended I read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni, a leadership fable.  It is a fabulous book and one I heartily recommend.  We discussed the book at ourSenge Circle, a business book discussion group. 

The setting for the fable is a new CEO has been hired to head up a electronic firm in Silicon valley and does not have a technology background but lots of leadership experience.  The book is a compelling and easy read.  The concepts are simple and implementing them is difficult and complex. 

In another book we discussed at Senge was Made in Canada Leadership the book described how leaders end up as leaders.  One is a accidental leader, those that end up in leadership by accident, and the others is a leader that set out to become leaders.  I discovered that I am an accidental leader and only take leadership when I find myself faced with a challenge.  I do not seek out leadership but take it when necessary.   I also think that when I have taken on leadership things have gone well.  I do not however seek out these opportunities.  

In the Five Dysfunctions book, the CEO talks about the experience of teams in a sports context and how dysfunctional a team can be if one member is only focusing on his achievement as opposed to the success of the team.  I observe in myself that I really enjoy golf which is not really a team sport but more individual.  I expect that means I do not seek out sports that involve teams but I do find when I play as part of a team I do enjoy myself. 

The question I ask myself is "Am I a team player?"  When I am part of a team, I certainly make every effort to contribute and do not look for my own glory.  I will have to observe myself, and look at how I participate as part of the team. 

Another thing that makes a team player is that she focuses on the overall results of the team and not her performance.  For many of us, we have so much of our ego involved that we focus only on our own performance. 

The key ingredient in creating a team is trust, which is such a small word for such a big thing.  Building trust is a important thing and one that develops over time and most constantly worked on.   A loss of trust can really create havoc on a team.  As we develop trust in others, we can be more open and honest with each other, admitting mistakes and asking forgiveness.

I will write more about teams and some of my dysfunctions in later blogs.

  1. Jim Hayward Reply

    If you are curious, get the book from the library, it is an easy and thought provoking read.
    Trust is really important with any team.

  2. Hilary Strickland Reply

    Interesting blog Jim. It gave me some food for thought about my attitude to leadership and how I felt about my leadership role as a matron of the hospice – not a role I consciously sought but I appreciated the challenges it brought me along the way. Your blog also brought to mind the memory of a bumper sticker that a very dear uncle of mine once gave me, ‘SAVE TIME, SEE IT MY WAY’ It brought me up sharp to thinking about my perhaps not so subliminal leadership desires. I guess I am a bossy Virgoan at heart. However I do like to play my part in a winning team 🙂

Leave a Reply

captcha *