My Take: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team


Its been a long time since I have termed a business book “gripping”. This book was exactly that – I finished reading the book cover to cover in the shortest possible time & I enjoyed every moment of it. The author, Patrick Lencioni, brands his product as A Leadership Fable – & it sure lives up to this tag. The book is a MUST READ for anyone who wants to leverage a team – either as a manager or as a team member.

At the core of this book is the Five Dysfunctions Model – a pyramid of the five dysfunctions

  • Absence of Trust stemming from unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group (base of the pyramid)
  • Fear of Conflict leading to artificial harmony
  • Lack of Commitment resulting in ambiguity
  • Avoidance of Accountability as seen in low standards
  • Inattention to Results accompanied by focus on individual status & ego (apex of the pyramid)

The most practical aspect of this book is post the fable – a guide to put the model to work. The guide provides three useful inputs (a) a checklist to identify which dysfunction is ailing your team, (b) suggestions for overcoming the dysfunction, and (c) role of the leader.

A question that I have pondered over many times in the recent past is How do you know when a team is collaborating? The book does provide crucial cues to answer this question (at least for now).