I decided to read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” written by Patrick Lencioni. I read it in English, so I decided to challenge myself to write this essay in English. The book is based around a story written in the context of realistic but fictional organization. The story outlines the five dysfunctions of a team in detail. I felt that the book was way more interesting than most educational books because of the story aspect of the book. Also, I thought that the book was very helpful towards my and our team’s future. In this reflection I am going to write about the five dysfunctions and see how they are displayed in our team.
Absence of trust
The first dysfunction is absence of trust. Trust is very important in teamwork. Without trust, teamwork is all but impossible. Trust does not come in overnight, because it requires many shared experiences. I only have few friends who I can really trust in our team. Most of the members I can’t. Nevertheless, I think that is only a minor dysfunction in our team. It’s very hard to trust everyone when you have 16 members in a team. I trust some people more in our team simply because I know them better. I must start meeting and getting to know more of our team members so I can trust them better. It’s going to be hard because some of our team members do not want to meet as much as others do. We have had a lot of improvement from the start of the year, and I believe we will continue to improve over the next year of being together.
Fear of conflict
By building trust, a team makes conflict possible. Building trust ties us in to the second dysfunction which is fear of conflict. Productive conflict is healthy for a team, but you must recognize productive conflict from destructive fighting and interpersonal politics. I feel like this dysfunction is the least impactful in our team. Most of our members can constructively criticize each other. I feel that I am the most vulnerable in this dysfunction of our team. I am usually too afraid to say productive criticism to avoid conflict. After reading the book I understand that healthy conflict is productive. In the coming weeks I will be focusing on opening my mouth and giving my opinions more.
Lack of commitment
”By engaging in productive conflict, a team can confidently commit and buy in to a decision knowing that they have benefited from everyone´s ideas”. That is how fear of conflict ties in to the third dysfunction which is lack of commitment. Most of our members thought that this dysfunction is the biggest problem in our team. I agree. I think that we do not commit sufficiently to most of our deadlines. Our team leader has to remind us of our small tasks way too many times. For example, since start of the year she has told us to use team’s app daily as a communication platform but most of us have not still committed to use it daily. That is one of the many examples. I think this dysfunction is very hard to get rid of in our team. I feel like this dysfunction comes more from personal problems from the past than a problem that has come within a year of being a team. It’s hard to change the habits of a person if they haven’t committed to anything in many years. Although I have these thoughts, I believe that we can make our team feel so special that everyone wants to commit more to the team’s common tasks.
Avoidance of accountability
“In order for teammates to call each other on their behaviors and actions, they must have a clear sense of what is expected.” That is how lack of commitment ties in to the fourth dysfunction which is avoidance of accountability. This dysfunction is a minor dysfunction in our team. it is only a small part of our team who avoids accountability, but most people are brave to jump into new challenges. I feel like I am sometimes one of those who avoids accountability. When I am positive, I can do something, I take all the required accountability, but I am not sure I can do it, I will most likely avoid it. I want to take more accountability, but I’m too afraid of failing or disappointing my team. I have had this fear for most of my life. I have gotten better during the last few years. I learn to better control my fear everytime when I act outside of my my comfort zone. By realizing this I will try to take more accountability every day.
Inattention to results
“If teammates are not being held accountable for their contributions, they will be more likely to turn their attention to their own needs, and to the advancement of themselves or their departments”. That is how avoidance of accountability ties in to the fifth dysfunction which is inattention to results. I think we have a small problem with this dysfunction. Some of our team members think more about themselves than about our team. As an example of this is our decided to change our cash system from joint cash to hybrid cash where 70% goes to the worker and 30% goes to the team bank. This cash system is more about one person than the hole team. I think I am a good team player and I am not part of this dysfunction in our team. I hope that all our team’s members will get a team spirit at some point and start thinking like a team player rather than an individual.
Even though we have something to improve in every dysfunction, I think I have a great team and we will work these dysfunctions out. I am glad that we have all read this book, because every member can now understand better what are our biggest problems and start to find solutions for them. This was my first book and essay that I have read and written in English. Even that it was a challenging experience I will definitely do it again.