Having dealt with professional burnout a couple of months before COVID hit, one of my recent professional goals was to become part of an IT Team. I have had some bumps along the way, but I finally landed in a team of two with a single environment to manage. My wife is a financial coach, and The “Five Leadership Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni was recommended to me by a financial coach friend based on my interest in organizational development.

The book tells the fictional story of a company called DecisionTech working through a major leadership change due a to lack of competitive results. Kathryn the new CEO, begins to walk the leadership team through understanding that the company’s challenges are not simply about individual departmental issues which can commonly be found at any company but the lack of a healthy team dynamic and interaction for the leadership team itself. These dysfunctions are discussed as,

  • ABSENCE OF TRUST: The fear of being vulnerable prevents team members from building trust with each other.
  • FEAR OF CONFLICT: The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles productive ideological conflict within the team.
  • LACK OF COMMITMENT: The lack of clarity and/or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they stick to.
  • AVOIDANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY: The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding each other accountable for their behaviors and performance.
  • INATTENTION TO RESULTS: The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the team’s focus on collective success.

The first half to two-thirds of the book is solidly written in terms of a narrative that I could imagine watching as a fly on the wall in many different boardrooms throughout the country. The characters were understandable and people relatable. In many ways this book runs down a similar path as Gordon MacDonald’s “Who Stole My Church?: What to do When The Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Century” in terms of a group walking through major changes.

My main struggle with “Five Leadership Dysfunctions of a Team” is that “Who Stole My Church?” tended to be more more diagnostic in the course of narrative. The “Five Leadership Dysfunctions of a Team” does the diagnostics starting at page 185 with an overview of the Team Health Model, Assessment, and then an Understanding and Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions. If you are halfway through the book and wondering is this book worth it, push forward to the back half of the book to peek at the tools and then come back to finish up the fable.

Having finished the book, it will definitely go on my list of book recommendations. I can already see some areas to work on both personally and professionally.

Ready to read the book? You can order it here https://www.tablegroup.com/product/dysfunctions/

Here are some additional PDF resources released by the publisher, The Table Group.