Leadership Fable Focuses on Teams

What do you do when your team doesn’t debate an issue or when they don’t have any input? It’s something I have wrestled with, and thanks to reading “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni have a better understanding of it.

In the book, which is told as a fable, a lack of trust is often at the core of a lack of debate during staff meetings or other interactions. One of the first suggestions to overcome this lack of trust was the notion of getting to know each other’s personal histories. This does not involve answering intrusive issues, but rather background questions that allow staff members to get to know something about each other and to begin to establish a level of trust.

The book also focused on setting goals for the team and developing a scorecard, or dashboard. This resonated with me because while my division has a dashboard, which I review with my vice president, I’ve not been consistent with discussing it with the team. The dashboard was created with team input, but for it to have real meaning, we need to review and analyze the results at least monthly.

According to “The Five Dysfunctions” my team will then be able to “make collective decisions on a daily basis.” This may result in some conflict as we determine the best way to get results. It’s critical for team members to be able to speak freely and openly with the intention of cycling through conflict and focusing on the team’s collective goals. It also means holding each other accountable “for what we sign up to do (and) for high standards of performance and behavior.”

Going back to the issues of trust, “trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.” As a result of this book, I’m trusting my team to hold me accountable so that I can help the team avoid or overcome the dysfunctions.