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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team


5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Leaders have to face risk and uncomfortable situations – otherwise the companies they lead will fail.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


Patrick Lencioni has written 11 books, including his bestseller identifying The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which are distrust, conflict, lack of commitment, lack of accountability and failure to focus on results. Talking with Ryan Hawk on the Learning Leader Show podcast, he applies his analytical lens to specific leadership challenges, like having to push people to excel and knowing you won’t please everyone. Lencioni says those who avoid conflict, risk and uncomfortable situations can’t become good leaders. Often citing professional sports teams, which he finds quite “dysfunctional” organizations, he calls for better attitudes about leadership. Becoming a leader isn’t a prize, he says; it’s a responsibility.


Creating a healthy organizational culture takes committed leaders.

Professional sports coaches are leaders. Of course, they have their own specific sets of issues and must create a suitable organizational culture. However, professional sports organizations are among the world’s most dysfunctional companies. The reason is that these teams often are just toys that amuse the wealthy, even though leading a major league team takes drive and commitment.

A lot of owners and sports general managers still think successful leadership is about technical skills. But successful leaders look at things from a different perspective. An NFL team, for example, is a business. It wants to keep its coaches and players on board and dedicated to the mission of winning. The coach wants skilled running backs and wide receivers. The owners and managers want their organization to create something like a family. Success in creating a committed organization keeps people on the team and gives it a competitive leg up over other teams.

Leadership isn’t easy, but the hard things are part of the deal.

Leaders must...

About the Podcast

Patrick Lencioni is one of the founders of The Table Group and is the pioneer of the organizational health movement. He is the author of 11 books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a TeamRyan Hawk created The Learning Leader Show podcast in 2015 as a way to explore leadership and excellence. He is also the author of Welcome to Management: How to Grow from Top Performer to Excellent Leader.

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