Team Dysfunctions: 5 Dysfunctions of a Team Summary

30 Jun 2016Harsh VaniawalaManagement, Book Review

Hello Readers,

I was given this book “The Five Dysfunction Of A Team” written by an American writer Patrick Lencioni. At August Infotech we get books on regular basis to create reading habit which helps us and company create a magnificent profile. Here I am going to tell you something about this book and how it has helped our management department at AI to manage a team as well as respective projects successfully.

According to Patrick Lenciono there are 5 dysfunction in a team which affects individual of a team and the whole.

The Five Dysfunction are :-

1) Absence Of Trust

Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible. The kind of trust that is characteristic of a great team requires team members to make themselves vulnerable to one another and be confident that their respective vulnerabilities will not be used against them. These vulnerabilities include weaknesses, skill deficiencies, inter- personal shortcomings, mistakes and requests for help.

Overcoming Dysfunction No. 1

  • Personal Histories Exercise. This low-risk exercise requires nothing more than going around the table during a meeting and having team members answer a short list of questions about themselves.
  • Team Effectiveness Exercise. This exercise requires team members to identify the single most important contribution that each of their peers makes to the team, as well as the one area that they must either improve upon or eliminate for the good of the team.

The Role of the Leader in Building Trust

The most important action that a leader must take to encourage the building of trust on a team is to demonstrate vulnerability first. This requires that the leader risk losing face in front of the team, so that subordinates will take the same risk themselves. Team leaders must create an environment that does not punish vulnerability. Displays of vulnerability on the part of a team leader must be genuine; they cannot be staged.

2) Fear Of Conflict

Teams that engage in productive conflict know that its only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely than other teams do, and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage, but with an eagerness and readiness to take on the next important issue.

Overcoming Dysfunction No. 2

  • Mining. Members of teams that tend to avoid conflict must occasionally assume the role of a “miner of conflict” — someone who extracts buried disagreements within the team and sheds light on them. Some teams may want to assign a member of the team to take on this responsibility during a given meeting or discussion.
  • Real-Time Permission. In the process of mining for conflict, team members need to coach one another not to retreat from healthy debate. One simple but effective way to do this is to recognize when the people engaged in conflict are becoming uncomfortable with the level of discord, and then interrupt to remind them that what they are doing is necessary.

The Role of the Leader in Overcoming the Fear of Conflict

It is key that leaders demonstrate restraint when their people engage in conflict, and allow resolution to occur naturally, as messy as it can sometimes be. A leader’s ability to personally model appropriate conflict behaviour is essential. By avoiding conflict when it is necessary and productive — something many executives do — a team leader will encourage this dysfunction to thrive.

3) Lack Of Commitment

In the context of a team, commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in. Great teams make clear and timely decisions and move forward with complete buy-in from every member of the team, even those who voted against the decision. They leave meetings confident that no one on the team is quietly harbouring doubts about whether to support the actions agreed on.

Overcoming Dysfunction No. 3

  • Deadlines. One of the best tools for ensuring commitment is to use clear deadlines for when decisions will be made and honour those dates with discipline and rigidity.
  • Contingency and Worst-Case Scenario Analysis. A team that struggles with commitment can begin overcoming this tendency by briefly discussing contingency plans up front or, better yet, clarifying the worst-case scenario for a decision they are struggling to make.

The Role of the Leader in Building Commitment

More than any other member of the team, the leader must be comfortable with the prospect of making a decision that may ultimately turn out to be wrong. And the leader must be constantly pushing the group for closure around issues, as well as adherence to schedules that the team has set. What the leader cannot do is place too high a premium on certainty or consensus.

4) Avoidance Of Accountability

Members of great teams improve their relationships by holding one another accountable, thus demonstrating that they respect each other and have high expectations for one another’s performance. High standards of performance on a team is peer pressure. More than any policy or system, there is nothing like the fear of letting down respected teammates to motivate people to improve their performance.

Overcoming Dysfunction No. 4

  • Publication of Goals and Standards.
    A good way to make it easier for team members to hold one another accountable is to clarify publicly exactly what the team needs to achieve, who needs to deliver what and how everyone must behave in order to succeed.
  • Simple and Regular Progress Reviews.
    Team members should regularly communicate with one another, either verbally or in writing, about how they feel their teammates are doing against stated objectives and standards.

The Role of the Leader in Instilling Accountability

One of the most difficult challenges for a leader who wants to instill accountability on a team is to encourage and allow the team to serve as the first and primary accountability mechanism.

Once a leader has created a culture of accountability on a team, however, he or she must be willing to serve as the ultimate arbiter of discipline when the team itself fails. This should be a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, it must be clear to all team members that accountability has not been relegated to a consensus approach, but merely to a shared team responsibility, and that the leader of the team will not hesitate to step in when necessary.

5) Inattention To Results

The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group. An unrelenting focus on specific objectives and clearly defined outcomes is a requirement for any team that judges itself on performance. The most effective and efficient means of maintaining.

Overcoming Dysfunction No. 5

  • Public Declaration of Results. Teams that are willing to commit publicly to specific results are more likely to work with a passionate, even desperate desire to achieve those results.
  • Results-Based Rewards. An effective way to ensure that team members focus their attention on results is to tie their rewards, especially compensation, to achieving specific outcomes.

The Role of the Leader in Focusing a Team on Results

Perhaps more than with any of the other dysfunctions, the leader must set the tone for a focus on results. If team members sense that the leader values anything other than results, they will take that as permission to do the same for themselves. Team leaders must be selfless and objective, and reserve rewards and recognition for those who make real contributions to achieving group goals.

Conclusion

The reality remains that teamwork ultimately comes down to practicing a small set of principles over a long period of time. Success is not a matter of mastering subtle, sophisticated theory, but rather of embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence.

Ironically, teams succeed because they are exceedingly human. By acknowledging the imperfections of their humanity, members of functional teams overcome the natural tendencies that make trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and a focus on results so elusive.

Harsh Vaniawala, Project Executive
August Infotech



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