The truth is teams are complex and managing teams can be difficult. Today I’m talking about the 5 most common dysfunctions of a team and how you can manage those to build an effective team.
In this episode, I talk all about:
- What the 5 most common dysfunctions of a team are
- What you can do as a leader if you have lack of trust in your team
- How to encourage positive conflict within your team
- What to do if a team member is showing a lack of commitment
- Why accountability is important within a team
- How to help team members identify themselves with the team goals
Scroll down for this episode’s transcript.
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[00:00:00] [00:01:00]Hello and welcome back to episode three of the Lead Like YOU! Podcast. I’m Anne Koopmann, your host. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the most common dysfunctions of a team and how you can manage those to build an effective team. So let’s get into it.
[00:01:30]What comes to mind when you think about an effective team, what does it mean? Have you seen teams that were really effective? Is your team effective?
[00:01:41] Maybe team members don’t communicate so well. Maybe there’s a bit of conflict or misalignment. Maybe they don’t feel accountable or maybe they have problems making decisions. The truth is teams are complex and managing teams can be really difficult.
[00:01:57] Because teams are made up of [00:02:00] individuals that each have their own story, their own background, their own values and their own motivators and drivers, you will always have certain issues in a team. So it takes a manager that is aware of these problems in a team, and really is committed to engage with the team to start to drive change.
[00:02:20] So let’s look into what are the most common dysfunctions of a team.
[00:02:23]Patrick Lencioni has defined five dysfunctions of teams and they each build up on top of each other. The basis is a lack of trust, followed by a fear of conflict, the lack of commitment, the feeling of not being accountable and ignoring the team goals. These dysfunctions happen quite often in teams, but there’s something that you can do about it.
[00:02:50] Let’s look at each of these dysfunctions, describe the problem a little bit, and then find solutions that you can implement to drive, change in your team and make your team more effective. [00:03:00]
[00:03:00]What does it mean if there is a lack of trust in a team? It means that the team is not really comfortable with sharing personal details or being vulnerable, admitting mistakes, or asking for help. They potentially don’t know each other really well. And they have not spent much time in bonding and understanding where the other person is coming from.
[00:03:20]But what you can do as a manager is to really spend time investing in getting to know each and every one of your teams and helping them understanding who they are as well. What are their motivators? What are the drivers? What are their strengths? Starting to build that trust and lead by example. So if you share your mistakes, if you ask openly for help, they will start to see that that’s the norm and that it’s okay.
[00:03:45]When they make mistakes, make sure that you’re there in a supportive way, that you coach them through it, that you empower them to find the solution themselves. And you make sure that they know that it’s okay, if we make mistakes. And slowly, you will start to [00:04:00] build the trust with the team, but it takes investment and it takes empathy.
[00:04:04]The second dysfunction is the fear of conflict. Now, if there’s no trust in the team, then there’s also not the ability to really engage in productive and effective conflict. People might not voice their opinions. They want to avoid conflict because conflict often can get out of hand.
[00:04:23] But it’s important to know that we need conflict to come to the best conclusions. We need the ability to have everybody voice their opinion and be heard so that we can make sure that we come together and find a conclusion. We need to acknowledge that conflict is normal and healthy.
[00:04:39] So by investing in learning more about how you can manage conflict, you can actually drive positive conflict in your team. Share that conflict is normal and nobody has to be scared of it. Encourage different point of views and give feedback on a regular basis. When you see a problem or spot a potential problem, approach the team members straightaway.
[00:04:59] Don’t wait for it [00:05:00] to be too late. And give them feedback along the way, encourage them when they have done something really well and also let them know when there are certain things that they can do differently or better. Don’t wait for the yearly or quarterly performance review, speak to them regularly, share what you observe and give them recognition for what they’ve done really well.
[00:05:20]The third dysfunction is lack of commitment. And this can come through the lack of discussion that you might have in meetings because of the fear of conflict, but also because clarity is lacking of what is actually the outcome of the meeting. What are the actions that we’re going to take? What is it that we want to achieve?
[00:05:37]So make sure that you provide that clarity. Summarize key points after every meeting. Summarize the decision that has been made, or that needs to be made. Follow up regularly and provide updates along the way.
[00:05:51]And also show a clear path forward. Where are you going to go with this? How does this fit in the bigger vision to drive the commitment and [00:06:00] also show what is going to happen. What are the consequences, if we don’t commit to this plan or we don’t make a decision?
[00:06:06]The fourth dysfunction is the lack of accountability. And you can imagine if there’s no trust, if we avoid conflict and we don’t feel committed, then it’s also really hard to hold each other accountable. It will be hard to speak up when we observe something. Or when we see somebody not doing their part properly. We won’t give feedback and we won’t keep people accountable to a certain standard. And this could result in bad results, bad performance, and also maybe a delay in the program. It could also result in behaviors that are not acceptable.
[00:06:40]So would you can do as a leader is to build that trust and the commitment, obviously, and then lead by example and call people out for behavior that is not acceptable, and also make sure that you follow up on certain tasks that they should do. Make sure that you have regular reviews to make sure that everybody feels accountable and always show the [00:07:00] consequences of their work.
[00:07:01] If they don’t do what they need to do, what is going to happen? What’s going to happen to the project. Show the consequences and the big picture.
[00:07:08] The last dysfunction is that team members do not identify themselves with the team goals. Now, if you have a team that don’t trust themselves, they don’t really feel accountable for the goals, then they actually might put their personal goals above the team or company goals. In the end, we all want what’s best for us.
[00:07:26]So for you to break that, it’s really important that, as we said before, you build the trust, you lead healthy conflict, you make people commit and feel accountable, and then you communicate the goals on a regular basis, share your purpose and your vision, inspire them so that they start to believe in what you believe.
[00:07:48] Help them to see why this goal is so important and maybe help them to see how their goals sit within that goal. How can they achieve their personal goals while working towards the team goal? [00:08:00] Celebrate success regularly to make everybody excited for what they have achieved, reward the team and make sure that you always give recognition.
[00:08:10]So these were the five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni. And to manage those dysfunctions, it really takes a lot of empathy and motivation to understand your team and what motivates and drives them, but also the ability to be assertive and to have courage, to have the tough conversations and to speak up when you see something that’s not acceptable.
[00:08:35] So it takes great leadership to achieve and build a great team.
[00:08:39]what do you think about these five dysfunctions? Have you observed these in your own teams that you either were part of or that you managed and what have you done about it? I would love to hear your stories and maybe your success stories as well. What have you done to build an effective team? Tag me on Instagram @annekoopmann_leadlikeyou , or [00:09:00] sent me a DM or message on LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. And I talk to you next time.