The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – An Evergreen Read for Entrepreneurs

Over the last two weeks the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni has come up multiple times. If you haven’t read it, it’s one of the all-time great leadership books, and especially applicable to entrepreneurs. In classic Lencioni style, it starts with a parable of a team making common mistakes followed by a journey of reflection and teamwork improvement.

From the listing:

Like it or not, all teams are potentially dysfunctional. This is inevitable because they are made up of fallible, imperfect human beings. From the basketball coach to the executive suite, politics and confusion are more the rule than the exception. However, facing dysfunction and focusing on teamwork is particularly critical at the top of an organization because the executive team sets the tone for how all employees work with one another. Fortunately, there is hope. Counter to conventional wisdom, the causes of dysfunction are both identifiable and curable. The first step toward reducing politics and confusion within your team is to understand that there are five dysfunctions to contend with, and address each that applies, one by one.


The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents building of trust within the team.


The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive, ideological conflict.


The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.


The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable for their behaviors and performance.


The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

While it might sound like commonsense, there’s a large gap between knowing something can be better and knowing the best practices to make it excel. Every entrepreneur should read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team individually and as a team with their employees.

2 thoughts on “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – An Evergreen Read for Entrepreneurs

  1. Agree wholeheartedly. We have utilized this framework for debugging team issues several times over the years at Groundfloor. It is not only effective but also time efficient to apply, with a short cycle between application and impact.

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