How to Build Your Dream Team

UPDATED: August 6, 2012
PUBLISHED: August 6, 2012

If you want to build a successful team for your business, there are five things you need to avoid. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, best-selling author Patrick Lencioni shares a leadership fable about a CEO who looks to turnaround a problem team at a troubled company. Lencioni, a leadership expert and organizational consultant, shares five common dysfunctions found in business teams and what you should do about each.

1. Absence of trust. In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers' intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.  “Team members need to be able to admit their weaknesses and mistakes, to acknowledge the strengths of others, and to apologize when they do something wrong.”

2. Fear of conflict. “Great teams argue. Not in a mean-spirited or personal way, but they disagree when important decisions are made.” Avoiding conflict only leads to mediocrity. But teams that engage in productive conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. 

3. Lack of commitment. In the context of a team, commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in. “When team members openly share opinions on a decision, they don’t wonder whether anyone is holding back. When the leader has to step in and make a decision, team members will accept that decision because they know their ideas were heard and considered.”

4. Avoidance of accountability. “The best kind of accountability on a team is peer-to-peer. Peer pressure is more efficient and effective than going to the leader, anonymously complaining and having them stop what they are doing to intervene. Members of great teams confront each other when they see something that isn’t serving the team.”

5. Inattention to results. The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group. "Team members have to be focused on the collective good of the team. Too often, they focus their attention on their department, their budget, their career aspirations, their egos. Great teams put the tangible results of the team ahead of their individual needs.” 

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