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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

One of the most helpful frameworks for building healthy organisations is Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

When you look at challenges deeper in your organisation, they can often be related back to 5 dysfunctions of a team at play in your organisation's leadership team.


The root cause of all dysfunctions of a team is a lack of vulnerability. Teams that can't trust one another enough to be vulnerable are inherently dysfunctional.


Once a team overcomes a lack of vulnerability, the next of the 5 dysfunctions is conflict. Healthy organisations are led by healthy teams that engage in healthy conflict.


One of the Lencioni 5 dysfunctions that's least understood is commitment. Only once your team has engaged in healthy conflict and people's opinions have been aired can the team truly commit together to a way forward—regardless of whether they disagree or not.


Once a team has committed to a way forward, only then can team members hold one another accountable. One of the best five dysfunctions of a team exercises is to do practice team accountability. Teams go to the next level when they are able to hold one another accountable for behaviour.


To provide a five dysfunctions of a team summary, you can either explain all five in detail or jump straight to results. This is what it's all about. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team isn't about 'soft skills', it's about results. Unhealthy teams achieve mediocre or average results whereas healthy teams achieve excellent results. It's that simple.

If you're in a context where you're keen to take your team or another group through The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, then check out my five dysfunctions of a team powerpoint.

Another resource I'd recommend to help you build your team is my book Step Up or Step Out: How to deal with difficult people, even if you hate conflict.

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