Dysfunctional teams

How can you recognize dysfunctionality in teams?
Do you work with a team or among a collection of individuals?

Teams are made up of imperfect human beings, therefore are inherently dysfunctional.
Patrick Lencioni presents The Five Dysfunctions Of A-Team

The properties of dysfunctional teams:

  1. Absence of trust: Teamwork begins by building trust – by overcoming the need for invulnerability.
  2. Fear of conflict: Preserving an artificial harmony – The harmony ought to be as a result of working through issues. Cycling through conflict.
  3. Lack of commitment: Committing to a plan or decision and getting everyone clearly to buy into it. It requires conflict and there is no need for consensus – no need to please everyone. People need to unload their opinions and feel listened to otherwise they won’t get fully on board.
  4. Avoidance of accountability
  5. Inattention to results: Define goals and results in a simple way to grasp easily, specific enough to be actionable, closely related to what is done on daily basis. The key to making the collective ego bigger than the individual ego, to prevent seeking individual recognition and attention at the expense of collective results.

The absence of trust lies at the heart of a dysfunctional team – stems from an unwillingness to be vulnerable within a group.
Trust is knowing that when a team member pushes you (respectfully), they are doing it because of the team.

Categories of collective goals to consider:

  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • New customer acquisition
  • Current customer satisfaction
  • Employee retention
  • Market awareness
  • Product quality

Building a team is hard. Fixing a dysfunctional team is harder, Patrick resembles the process like healing a broken hand – you need to break it more to fix it.

You can start recognizing progress towards a functional team by noticing these signs:

  1. The team seems to stay together
  2. Noise – prevalent sound is laughter
  3. Eager to follow up

Teamwork remains the ultimate competitive advantage. So powerful and so rare.

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