Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
Picture of a group of people standing on a hill over the beautiful cloudscape.

Tackling the ultimate dysfunction of a team

In my previous four blogs, I explained the first four dysfunctions of a team from the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni:

  1. Absence of Trust – How to build trust on your team
  2. Fear of Conflict – Conflict is good for your team
  3. Lack of Commitment – It’s all about commitment
  4. Avoidance of Accountability – Positive peer pressure leads to accountability

Lencioni’s fifth and final dysfunction is the ultimate dysfunction – inattention to results. Good teams get things done. In order to have a high-functioning team, according to Lencioni, we need to work through each of the dysfunctions, including the fifth and final one. If we have trust among team members; open, respectful, and productive conflict; a commitment to decisiveness and action; and a high level of accountability on our team, we are better than most. That said, without a keen focus on achieving results, we can still fail.

A team that is not focused on results:

  • stagnates/fails to grow;
  • rarely defeats competitors;
  • loses achievement-oriented employees;
  • encourages team members to focus on their own careers and individual goals (at the potential expense of team and organizational goals); and
  • is easily distracted.

A team that is focused on collective results:

  • retains achievement-oriented employees;
  • is not derailed by individualistic behaviour;
  • acutely enjoys success and learns from failure;
  • benefits from individuals who subjugate their own goals/interests for the good of the team; and
  • avoids distractions.

How do we get to a focus on results?

  • By making goals and the results against them
  • By rewarding only those behaviours that contribute to those results.

Leadership is critical to developing and maintaining a focus on results. If team members sense the leader values self-interest over team results, members of the team will take this as permission to similarly pursue their own agendas. Team leaders must be selfless and objective, reserving rewards, their own included, for team achievement. Leaders must live and breathe the results-focus and communicate effectively if the results-focus is going to thrive. With the right leadership approach, the team will become and stay that rare commodity – a high-performance team that generates consistently strong results.