In 2002, Patrick Lencioni penned his bestseller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Over a decade later it still remains prominently displayed on the shelves of the business section at your local bookstore. Even over a decade later this business fable contains the information to not only help you identify why your team may not be operating at its optimal performance, but also how to correct the underlying issues so that it can.
The story focuses on a new CEO, Kathryn, who has been brought in to turn an executive team around. The large technology based company has been in turmoil as of late. The previous CEO has been asked to step down but still remains in an executive level function. Kathryn has no experience in this industry but has had great success with building teams in other organizations.
While the tale is set within a large and expanding corporation the fundamental messages still have value for a leader in any sized company. It does not really matter if you are in a monolithic money maker or a small business that is just trying to get its legs under it. The importance of building a well-functioning leadership team is the same in both.
Kathryn was easily able to identify what the issues were in her team. Most likely, you have made many of the same observations with your team. Through a series of off-site workshops Kathryn was able to start implementing the changes necessary to make a course correction. You may want to employ the same strategy, but if you are unable to, focused attention on the behavior can still yield the same results.
In his book, the first issue that Lencioni identifies that causes teams to be dysfunctional is an absence of trust between the team members. Trusting one another is the linchpin for any group to be successful. Much can be said about how important trust is. However, in this case it is something other than do you feel like you can leave your purse in the office when you go to lunch or are you confident that the company is not conducting illegal activities. In this reference it is there enough trust between the individuals to be transparent with one another? By doing so, they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable.
Without open and honest dialogue vulnerability and transparency will never develop. Without that, there is no foundation upon which to build trust. Our teams will never be able to effectively operate because they will veil their comments because of fear of scorn, ridicule or reprimand. As a leader, you will find yourself surrounded by yes-people, blame passers and apathetic non-engagers. Clearly, this is not what you desire to have within your inner circle of influence.
Via Kathryn’s character, Lencioni goes on to discuss four additional points on his pyramid to help get the team on the right track. I would highly encourage you to pick up this book and spend a day reading it and the rest of your days using it to build your team. After taking that first step you can start building trust among your team members.
What is the trust level between your team members?
What are some ways that you have built trust in your organizations?
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