By Elizabeth Eyre and the Mind Tools Team
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Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Solving Key Teamworking Problems

Team Meeting

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Infighting is a sign of a dysfunctional team.

Have you ever seen a team fall apart because of bickering, infighting, or a failure of accountability? Not only is it frustrating to watch, it's also incredibly disheartening.

This is why it helps to know about "Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team." In this article, we'll explore these five dysfunctions, and we'll look at what you can do to fix them.

About the Five Dysfunctions

Patrick Lencioni, president of management consulting firm, The Table Group, wrote about the Five Dysfunctions of a Team in his 2002 book of the same name. He developed these principles after observing and coaching thousands of CEOs and Fortune 500 management teams.

The five dysfunctions are:

  1. Absence of trust.
  2. Fear of conflict.
  3. Lack of commitment.
  4. Avoidance of team accountability.
  5. Inattention to team objectives.

From "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable" by Patrick M. Lencioni. © 2002. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Let's look at these in more detail.

1. Absence of Trust

Lencioni says that an absence of trust is the most severe dysfunction that a team can have. Without trust, productive work and growth are almost impossible. Team members spend time and energy protecting themselves or undermining each other, instead of focusing on the work and goals of the team.

By contrast, when team members trust one another, they're willing to be open and "vulnerable" with the group. They trust that no one will attack them maliciously, which means that they can spend their time and energy on the work at hand....

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