I’ve been fortunate to lead and be a part of several high-performing, cohesive teams during my career…teams that get a lot done and enjoy working with each other in the process. Being part of a high-performing, cohesive team can be productive, fulfilling, and fun. The best part of working with a great team is that the work you do together is better than anything you could ever accomplish alone.

But what if your team is less than productive and seems to get stuck in conflict? In his best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, (which is soon to be a 20-year-old classic), Patrick Lencioni identifies five dysfunctions that prevent teams from achieving their best:

Title: dysf
  1. Absence of Trust
  2. Fear of Conflict
  3. Lack of Commitment
  4. Avoidance of Accountability
  5. Inattention to Results

Do you recognize any of these dysfunctions from any teams you’ve worked on in the past? I sure do. At certain times in my career, I’ve experienced each one of them and it can be frustrating, isolating, and downright awful.

So how can you address these dysfunctions and build a team that:

  • Trusts one another?
  • Engages in unfiltered conflict around ideas?
  • Commits to decisions and plans of action?
  • Holds one another accountable for delivering on those plans?
  • Focuses on the achievement of collective results?

You might start by using a team assessment. In his book, Lencioni provides a very straightforward 15-question diagnostic tool you can use to assess your team and its susceptibility to the five dysfunctions. It’s important to have each team member participate in the assessment and answer the questions from their perspective, so that you get a full picture of how your team is functioning. With the results, you can then build strategies to begin addressing any dysfunctions. Lencioni has also created a field guide companion piece to his book that outlines specific strategies and tools for overcoming each of the five dysfunctions.

There are many team assessments available to leaders today. I’ve found that this particular tool is simple and accessible. If you would like consultation about building your team, contact me at anita@riosconsulting.org

Anita Rios

2 thoughts on “Is your team not achieving their best?

  1. This is a good reminder and great reference from Patrick Lencioni on team dysfunction. Undoubtedly, you can lead teams to better health, higher productivity. Thank you for sharing!


    1. I agree Mary! It is good to look back and reread some of those classic leadership and teambuilding resources like Lencioni’s. There are many good ideas for supporting teams in his accompanying field guide as well.


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