Your Team May Be Dysfunctional

FiveDysfunctions 1

This past January the 17th through the 18th our elders get away for a couple of days to have a retreat where we spend a lot of time talking about mission; we discuss where we are, where we’re going and what we need to do to get there, as well as what we’re doing that we need to end as it doesn’t further our mission.  It was a refreshing time of fellowship and thankfully a fruitful time of discussion. One among many items of discussion was Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team What follows is a brief summary of his book that we found very helpful and I hope you will to.

  1. Absence of trust. This is seen primarily in team members being unwilling to be vulnerable.
  2. Fear of conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas.
  3. Lack of commitment. If a team does not engage with ideas, a team will rarely buy in and commit to decisions.
  4. Avoidance of accountability. Without committing to an idea or plan of action, even the most focused and driven people will often hesitate to call their peers on actions that are inconsistent or counterproductive to the good of the team.
  5. Inattention to results.  Lastly, a team that refuses to hold one another accountable will put their ego and career development (i.e. individual needs) over against the needs of the team (i.e. collective goals).

Here’s the visual that Lencioni gives in his book.


In contrast, a healthy and functioning team seeks to cultivate the following:

  1. They trust one another.
  2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.
  3. They commit to decisions and plans of actions.
  4. They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.
  5. They focus on the achievement of collective results.

What is unbelievably encouraging is that our elder team at Oak Park worked through these five dysfunctions for about two hours and had some sweet conversation that only occurred because each of our seven elders exemplified humility and transparency in the midst of our discussion.  We haven’t arrived to a point where we never struggle with the aforementioned dysfunctions, but thankfully each of us exemplifies a healthy self-awareness in each of our lives. Truly, my relationship with my fellow elders is one of the many graces in my life.

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