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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Durant

The building blocks of a strong team

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

There are many models which share ideas on how to build a strong, functional and effective team. In my experience, there is one excellent model which is simple to understand and very effective when implemented. This model was first introduced in the book "The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team" which was written by Patrick Lencioni in 2005.

At first, it seems counter-productive to focus on the behaviours that would be observed in a dysfunctional team, but by identifying these dysfunctions and then working on overcoming them, the strength of the team starts to build.

The first dysfunction is an Absence of Trust. Without trust, which is vulnerability-based, the team will fear engaging in true debate. The leader of the team needs to step forward and show their human side, and their own vulnerability to make it ok to ask for help, to share when things go wrong and to acknowledge one's own weaknesses.

Once trust starts to develop, the team can start to overcome a Fear of Conflict. When this exists within a team, individuals do not share their own opinions on matters which affect the team. They go along with the loudest voice, or the leader, and then discredit the team to others.

If this these behaviours go unchecked, it will surely lead to a Lack of Commitment. Where individuals do not have their opinions heard and aren't able to input into decisions, they will not give full commitment to these decisions. The team will revisit discussions over and over, will suffer inertia in getting traction and will fail to effect change.

Where the team won't commit, is it inevitable that Avoidance of Accountability will manifest within the team. Individuals will resist taking actions, claim they weren't consulted effectively or simply not complete their own actions. As this behaviour continues, the team will fail to hold each other to account, and performance will be poor.

The final dysfunction is an Inattention to Results. Given what has happened in the prior stages, it is no surprise that the team do not align behind key goals, and do not take the necessary steps to make the team a success. Personal ego and self-promotion continue to be the main aim for team members which further degrades team performance.

Without intervention to address these dysfunctions, expect to see continued poor performance, politics and toxic team relations which all take energy to resolve (and most likely fail to do so).

I highly recommend to all you buy the book and enjoy reading & implementing it. If you'd like support in how to do that, please get in touch.

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