Working Well: Five Behaviors of Dysfunctional Team

©copyright 2002, The Table Group

All teams are potentially dysfunctional. This is inevitable because they are made up of imperfect human beings. From the basketball court to the executive suite, from work teams to ministry teams, politics and confusion are more the rule than the exception. However, facing dysfunction and focusing on teamwork is particularly critical at the top of an organization because the senior team sets the tone for how everyone else works with one another. The five dysfunctions of a team are:

  • Absence Of Trust - team members are comfortable being open, even exposed to one another around their failures, weaknesses, even fears.
  • Fear Of Conflict - In order for a team to constructively debate issues of importance to the team, the team needs to master conflict. When people don’t trust one another to engage in debate, they are focused on winning the argument and don’t listen to each other’s ideas. Worse yet, a polite atmosphere is created that is perceived as respectful and limits the sharing of information and ideas.
  • Lack Of Commitment – commitment is about a group of individuals buying into a decision when they don’t naturally agree. Without productive conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails.
  • Avoidance Of Accountability - Accountability is the willingness of team members to remind one another of their commitments when they do not follow through with their actions. Without accountability, a team slowly declines.
  • Inattention To Results - It is natural human behavior to lose focus, mostly because we are hard-wired to look out for ourselves before others. To execute, the team needs to keep its goals front and center.


Description: Interactive workshop engages the team in understanding the model and immediately applying it to their team. Team members complete a team assessment in advance of the workshop. SOS uses the report to guide the discussion and team action planning.
: four hours
: handouts, team report, Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team book (a $20 value) and three SOS white papers (Teams, Trust and Conflict), for each team member.