How To Prevent The Natural Disorder Of Your Team


by Kevin Watson



How do you take a team from a state of disorder to become a high performing team?

If we leave something alone, the natural tendency is for it to go from a state of order to disorder. This is known as ‘entropy’ and is the second law of thermodynamics.

According to Patrick Lencioni, team working is no different.

He considers all teams have the potential to be dysfunctional. The only way to change this is through creative intervention.

Of course, to find the best intervention requires an understanding of the type and level of dysfunction.

Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.Patrick Lencioni

Lencioni’s model has five levels and each must be complete before moving on to the next one.

Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust

This occurs when members of the team are unable or unwilling to be vulnerable with each other.

A level of comfort that leads to a firm foundation of trust has to be in place for people to admit mistakes, declare weaknesses or ask for help.

Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict

Without this foundation of trust, teams are incapable of engaging in debate over key issues.

The underlying conflict goes unchallenged and even unnoticed, often appearing as veiled discussions.

As a consequence of people being unable or unwilling to openly air their opinions, inferior decisions are made.

Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment

It is hard for people to commit to key team decisions in the absence of conflict. As a result, an environment where ambiguity prevails.

A lack of direction and commitment will often lead to disgruntled and disenfranchised members of the team, especially the shining stars.

Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.Patrick Lencioni

Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability

When teams have not been able to commit to a clear plan of action, members of the team will be reluctant to hold each other to account for their actions and behaviours.

Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results

People quite naturally put their own needs ahead of the team, when individuals are not held accountable.

And when a team loses sight of the need to achieve, the business will ultimately suffer.

Call to Action

When the team are working together in harmony, these five dysfunctions do not cause problems.

However, Lencioni’s model highlights the result of when a team lacks trust. This should always be your first point of call.

Is there an absence of trust in your team?


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.



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