The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: July 18th, 2011 by bobmorris

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Patrick Lencioni
Jossey-Bass (2002)

In this “leadership fable,” Lencioni focuses on “the rarity” of effective teamwork, noting that “teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.” Is teamwork therefore doomed to failure? No. According to Lencioni, productive collaboration can be achieved by certain behaviors that are “at once theoretically uncomplicated, but extremely difficult to put into practice day after day.” Moreover, the principles that guide and inform these behaviors “apply to more than just teamwork.

Here’s the fictional situation. A new CEO, 57 year-old Kathryn Petersen, has been hired by the board of DecisionTech to replace its co-founder and former CEO, 37-year-old Jeff Shanley, who continues to head the firm’s business development. He was (in effect) forced to step down primarily because, although DecisionTech’s 150 employees “seemed to like him well enough personally, they couldn’t deny that under his leadership the atmosphere within the company had become increasingly troubling. Backstabbing among the executives had become increasingly troubling.” Shanley proceeds through a difficult struggle to understand who he is (and isn’t) and eventually learns several valuable lessons that prepare him to….

As is his custom in each of the other volumes in the series of “leadership fables,” Lencioni then provides a “Model” section and supplementary material (Pages 185-224) whose value-added benefits will help his reader to make effective application of the lessons learned from the experiences shared by Kathryn and her DecisionTech associates.

 

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