The Sixth Dysfunction of A Team

Here’s the scenario, I’m sitting outside of my work’s lunch area, a coworker of mine is listening to an audio book. This sounds interesting, it’s intriguing because it sounds like a fiction book…except it’s not.


According to Patrick Lencioni, the five dysfunctions are as follows:

1.            An absence of trust among team members. – (resulting problem:  invulnerability)

2.            Fear of conflict. — (resulting problem:  artificial harmony)

3.            Lack of commitment. — (resulting problem:  ambiguity)

4.            An avoidance of accountability. — (resulting problem:  low standards)

5.           Inattention to results. — (resulting problem:  status and ego)

Now, this is not a book review, I’ll leave that for my writing blog. But Patrick Lencioni brings across an interesting top of discussion and perhaps what may very well be the sixth dysfunction; the inability to recognize being a dysfunctional team resulting in a blindness to reality.

We’ve all experienced being on a dysfunctional team, perhaps we may have very well been the Mikey of the group without even realising it. The first step to fixing a dysfunctional team is coming to terms with reality and realising, either you are allowing the team to be dysfunctional or you’re are contributing to the dysfunctionality of it all. Sadly, many of us prefer to turn a blind eye towards this if we find that individually we are getting our work done.

However, as Patrick Lencioni highlights in this book, that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Yes, you may be getting your work done but things will come crumbling down after a while. It may not be right away, but it will. If you’re working in a team, or part of a company, do not focus on only improving yourself, or your department, focus on improving the team and the company. Because you know what? When people see you displaying good teamwork and ethics, these opportunities for self-advancement will come to you, they will present themselves.

I believe one of the reasons that many of us are unable to realise that we are part of a team that is dysfunctional is because we are afraid of change and we are comfortable because “this is how things have always been done.” In order to move forward in life as a team, or even as an individual, we need to overcome these challenges.

I wonder, are we truly blind towards reality or are we pretending to be blind in order to continue working in safety and security? We need to learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It is only after that, after pushing aside any negative attitudes, resistance to change and ignorance of our current situation we can then tackle the other five dysfunctions.

After all, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one.



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