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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
June 23, 2004


A good team is a precious thing, the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, really brings to light how difficult it is to get a good team together and working well. You know when you are apart of a good team and when the team needs work.

The book lists the five dysfunctions of a Team:
1. The first dysfunction is an absense of trust among team members. Essentially, this stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation for trust.
2. This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction: fear of conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Instead they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.
3. A lack of healthy conflict is a problem because it ensures the third dysfunction of a team: lack of commitment. Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team member rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement during meetings.
4. Because of this lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members develop an avoidance of accountability, the fourth dysfunction. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
5. Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive. Inattention to results occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) or even the needs of their divisions above the collective goals of the team.

Truly cohesive teams are obvious
1. They trust one another
2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
3. They commit to decisions and plans of actions.
4. They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.
5. They focus on the achievenment of collective results.


I think the above is exactly out of the book. I borrowed the book from the library, and I thought the above was so important I typed it out to remember for later. I know its a geekish thing to do, but why today am i sharing it with you.

The reason is that at times, I need a place to remember that I'm apart of many many teams. I have different roles and places in several teams. Some I'm suppose to lead, others i need to actively participate in, and others i need to follow the lead of others. But my actions and contributions and light of which I accept the actions and contributions of others needs to avoid the dysfunctions. That's why they are dysfunctions.

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