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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

A Leadership Fable

By Patrick M. Lencioni
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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (2002) presents the notion that teams are inherently dysfunctional, so deliberate steps must be taken to facilitate great teamwork. A knowledgeable team leader can do a great deal to make his or her team effective, and the book outlines practical tools for achieving this.

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What is in it for me: learn how to build and maintain a great team

Anyone who has ever had to work with other people to achieve something important has no doubt realized how crucial, and yet difficult, teamwork is. Indeed, great teamwork does not happen by accident; it requires concerted and deliberate efforts. This is because teams are inherently dysfunctional: they are made up of imperfect individuals who have egos and selfish goals.

Luckily, it is possible to achieve great teamwork by using certain tools and principles. Understanding how to implement them is crucial for any team leader.

For example, team leaders must build trust within the team so that members are comfortable engaging each other in conflict. Leaders must also set and monitor team goals so everyone stays focused. It is equally important for leaders to act as role models, exemplifying good teamwork themselves.

The book answers many essential questions about teamwork, such as:

  • Why is it so important to focus on teamwork, even if the team already has many great individuals?
  • Why is trust crucial, and why does it require team members to share weaknesses and mistakes openly?
  • How can team members be encouraged to focus on team results rather than individual goals?

The next eight blinks present the key ideas from the book.

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