“If you get all the people in an organisation rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team


Let’s get real about teamwork – while some teams thrive, others falter, and leadership is pivotal in determining their fate. Patrick Lencioni highlights five common pitfalls that teams may encounter, which, left unaddressed, can lead to a dysfunctional team:


Trust: This underpins everything else. Without trust, team members hesitate to be vulnerable, share information, or seek help from one another. Consequently, the absence of trust breeds scepticism, stifles creativity, and undermines the cohesive fabric of the team.

Fear of Conflict: When conflict goes unaddressed it leads to unresolved issues and simmering tensions. Avoiding challenging conversations can lead to a lack of accountability and commitment to shared goals.

Lack of Commitment: Without a shared sense of purpose and commitment to shared goals, teams flounder in indecision and mediocrity. Individuals may prioritise their own interests over contributing to the team’s collective success.

Avoidance of Accountability: Without accountability, there’s a void of ownership and commitment, resulting in a culture of finger-pointing and excuses. This stifles teamwork and collaboration, hampering the team’s ability to work effectively.

Inattention to Results: Trust issues lead to fear of conflict, which fosters lack of commitment and eventually avoidance of accountability. Each dysfunction compounds the previous one, resulting in a team that is incapable of achieving results. Such a team may be complacent or disengaged, lacking the motivation to take necessary actions to deliver the bottom line.


So how do you build a high-performing team? Leaders need to understand how to flip the dysfunctional to functional. To cultivate a high-performance team, there must be a culture of trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and attention to results.


Sounds challenging? Check out our 5 articles below that delve into the five functions of high-performing teams and how leaders can leverage this knowledge to start transforming their teams today.


  1. Building a Culture of Trust: Explore the Trust Equation to develop mutual respect, transparency and collaboration, laying the groundwork for a cohesive and supportive team environment.
  2. Encouraging Healthy Conflict: Learn about the SCARF model can be used to encourage teams to embrace differing perspectives, facilitate constructive discussions and transform conflicts into opportunities for growth and innovation.
  3. Cultivating Commitment: Discover how Inclusive Leadership can inspire a shared sense of purpose and create a commitment culture.
  4. Promoting Accountability: Familiarise yourself with the Accountability Ladder for establishing clear expectations to create a culture of responsibility and ownership.
  5. Unlocking Results: Explore the Performance Formula tool, designed to coach your team towards a results-oriented mindset, ensuring ownership of their performance.


Ready to achieve remarkable results with your team? Contact us today to discover how our expert guidance can empower your organisation. With our Elevate Programme, specifically designed for middle management, unlock the full potential of your team and lead with confidence and innovation.



  • Lencioni, P. M. (2002). The five dysfunctions of a team. Jossey-Bass.
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