Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick M. Lencioni does a great job at summarizing The Five Dysfunctions of a Team in his book by the same title.  Whether you are planting churches, starting businesses or simply trying to do something as a team, these five factors are so important to understand.   Many of you are familiar with this book, but for those who are not, you can now catch up.  Read Lencioni’s summary below.  Click Image to Enlargen.


  1. The first dysfunction is an absence of trust among team members.  Essentially, this stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.
  2. This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction: fear of conflict.  Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas.  Instead, they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.
  3. A lack of healthy conflict is a problem because it ensures the third dysfunction of a team: lack of commitment.  Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement during meetings.
  4. Because of this lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members develop an avoidance of accountability, the fourth dysfunction.  Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
  5. Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive.  Inattention to results occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) or even the needs of their divisions above the collective goals of the team.

5 Responses to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

  1. Dan B. says:

    You can see why Jesus made unity/trust such a priority in John 17.

  2. Scott Olson says:

    Very insightful JR. Thanks for posting this.

  3. JR Woodward says:


    Glad to know it was helpful.

  4. As a team building coach, I’ve based my workshops on Lencioni’s 5 dysfunctions, with the addition of one critical dysfunction that I think he leaves out at the very beginning: the absense of good communication. Good, clear communication is essential for building the next level, trust.

  5. JR Woodward says:


    A good word. Communication is so key.

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