What Are The 5 Dysfunctions of A-Team? is a book by consultant and speaker Patrick Lencioni. It explains the common pitfalls teams face when trying to grow together. It explores the root causes of team failure and organizational politics. The book includes a section on leadership and team dynamics. But, here are some of the indications of a dysfunctional team:
Lack of Trust
The core cause of team dysfunction is a lack of trust. If your team lacks confidence, you should consider building it. According to Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer, the lack of faith in societal leaders is the leading cause of mistrust in organizations. In addition, more than half of respondents believe business leaders purposely mislead the public.
First, establish a baseline of trust. Establishing a healthy level of trust can be difficult. Depending on the depth of the mistrust, getting the team to open up can be challenging. For example, if leaders do not value results, their team will likely follow suit. In contrast, a group that publicly commits to results will work fervently for them. Second, ensure that team members are only rewarded for their genuine contributions.
Fear of Conflict
When people are afraid of conflict, they will avoid discussing controversial issues. They may prevent resolving disputes and instead try to “take” them “off-line.” This prevents a team from tapping into all of the team’s perspectives. It wastes time and energy and leads to the wrong course of action. When people fear conflict, they are not open to discussing it. As a result, they will miss out on opportunities for growth and development.
Identifying the root causes of this problem is essential. People who don’t have clear expectations or goals will act counterproductively and refuse to engage in difficult conversations. To combat this, publish the team’s objectives and have regular progress reviews. Then, be prepared to call out those behaviors. When a leader does not take responsibility for these issues, they may not be able to resolve the problem promptly.
Lack of Commitment
During his years of coaching teams, Patrick Lencioni identified five fundamental problems that hamper the success of teams. These problems mirror Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and each of them hampers the group’s productivity. While each of these problems may seem minor in themselves, they can affect the team’s overall performance. To build a high-performing team, you must address each dysfunction head-on.
To overcome a lack of commitment, it is essential to foster productive conflict. Conflict helps team members tap into different perspectives and opinions. Without constructive conflict, members will tend to feel trapped and not fully commit to a decision. In addition, teams that lack commitment will spend a lot of time revisiting topics and dividing up their resources and time. This lack of commitment will undermine any team’s decision-making ability and ultimately lead to confusion and unrest.
Lack of Accountability
A leader must foster a culture of accountability for team members. Accountability is a shared responsibility, but the leader must also be willing to step in when necessary. Ineffective accountability invites team members to shift their focus from collective results to ad hoc or purely individual goals. In addition, a team needs specific metrics to measure progress toward its goals and objectives. To improve accountability, each team member must have a strong sense of how they are holding each other accountable.
When team members are not held accountable for results, they may engage in counterproductive behavior and avoid having difficult conversations. To combat this, publishing goals and objectives and holding team members accountable for their work is essential. If a plan is not publicly defined, team members may not feel the need to work hard to achieve it. The leader must reserve rewards for actual contributions and acknowledge team members making them happen.