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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable [Hardcover]

by Patrick Lencioni
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (784 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 11, 2002 9780787960759 978-0787960759 1st
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.

Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni's utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.

Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable + Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators + The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business
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Editorial Reviews Review

Once again using an astutely written fictional tale to unambiguously but painlessly deliver some hard truths about critical business procedures, Patrick Lencioni targets group behavior in the final entry of his trilogy of corporate fables. And like those preceding it, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an entertaining, quick read filled with useful information that will prove easy to digest and implement. This time, Lencioni weaves his lessons around the story of a troubled Silicon Valley firm and its unexpected choice for a new CEO: an old-school manager who had retired from a traditional manufacturing company two years earlier at age 55. Showing exactly how existing personnel failed to function as a unit, and precisely how the new boss worked to reestablish that essential conduct, the book's first part colorfully illustrates the ways that teamwork can elude even the most dedicated individuals--and be restored by an insightful leader. A second part offers details on Lencioni's "five dysfunctions" (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), along with a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings. Like the author's previous books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, this is highly recommended. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

In keeping with the parable style, Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO) begins by telling the fable of a woman who, as CEO of a struggling Silicon Valley firm, took control of a dysfunctional executive committee and helped its members succeed as a team. Story time over, Lencioni offers explicit instructions for overcoming the human behavioral tendencies that he says corrupt teams (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results). Succinct yet sympathetic, this guide will be a boon for those struggling with the inherent difficulties of leading a group. 100,000 first printing.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (April 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780787960759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787960759
  • ASIN: 0787960756
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (784 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations' health since 1997. His principles have been embraced by leaders around the world and adopted by organizations of virtually every kind including multinational corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, professional sports teams, the military, nonprofits, schools, and churches.

Lencioni is the author of ten business books with over three million copies sold worldwide. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today.

Prior to founding The Table Group, Lencioni served on the executive team at Sybase, Inc. He started his career at Bain & Company and later worked at Oracle Corporation.

Lencioni lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their four sons.

To learn more about Patrick and The Table Group, please visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
177 of 190 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
By dedicating 90% of his book to a so-called leadership fable, Patrick Lencioni very effectively conveys the very essence of the model he proposes in order to deal with dysfunctional teams. Though the story he presents is that of a hypothetical newly appointed CEO of a distressed start-up and (in the beginning of the story) her highly dysfunctional executive team, the model is perfectly applicable to any team throughout most organizations.
The model consists of a pyramid with the five dysfunctions of a team (from the bottom, up):
1) Absence of trust: stemming from an unwillingness in the team members to be vulnerable and genuinely open up with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses.
2) Fear of conflict: inability to engage in unfiltered, passionate (yet constructive, though it may strike you as odd) debate.
3) Lack of commitment: no buy in and commitment can be expected when ideas and opinions have not been aired and genuinely taken into consideration prior to a decision.
4) Avoidance of accountability: without commitment to a clearly defined set of goals, team members will hesitate to call their colleagues on their actions and behaviors that are counterproductive for the team.
5) Inattention to results: Lencioni brings it all home through the realization that avoidance of accountability leads to a state where team members tend to put their individual needs above the team's collective goals.
Throughout the last leg of his book, Lencioni contrasts how dysfunctional teams behave by comparing them to a cohesive team in the case of each of the five dysfunctions. He also provides suggestions on overcoming each of the dysfunctions and insights into the role of the leader in this process, all in a very structured and to-the-point way.
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269 of 299 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chief Innovation Officer, April 11, 2002
This book is helpful to anyone who serves on a team and specifically helpful for team leaders. You will see yourself and your team in this book. More than that, you will find specific steps you can take to make your team better. Through a real life fable, Pat leads you through the steps you need to take to move a team from dysfunction to health. You will find a clear model as well as examples that are as relevant as your last meeting.
As I read this book I discovered:
1. A vocabulary I can use with my team to discuss dysfunction.
2. A self-analysis that will get the discussion started.
3. A clear model for implementation.
As a team leader, this book challenged me to:
1) Lead selflessly
2) Take risks
3) Encourage conflict
4) Embrace the power of meetings
4) Direct my team around a common theme
This book is simple, practical and filled with wisdom. Highly recommended.
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143 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical and insightful! December 26, 2002
This is a genuinely significant book for anyone who works in a team environment, whether at work, in sports, in the community, at home, etc. Of all the business books I have read on team building, "Five Dysfunctions" stands at the top of the pack. The strength of this book lies in the fact that it gets at the ROOTS of team failure. Anyone who has been forced to go through corporate "team building" sessions and sing with their fellow co-workers knows that it is an approach that doesn't work! The principles presented in "Five Dysfunctions" are solid and will get results.
The organization of "Five Dysfunctions" is as follows. The bulk of the book comprises of an extended fictitious example of a dysfunctional group, and slowly works through the underlying principles. These principles are then succinctly presented in the last few pages of the book, along with further analysis and suggestions on implementation. This organization allows the principles to slowly sink in through the book, but then gives the reader a very focused section the use for later reference and review.
A great strength of the book is that it avoids the all-too-frequent tendency of creating tension and then resolving it more quickly than would happen in real life. Reading the story gives you a sense of the effort needed to work through the dysfunctions of a team. The tools are presented to the reader, but without the illusion of a quick fix. Rather, "Five Dysfunctions" gives a simple message that inspires, energizes, and creates a vision of hope for how thing could be in a team.
One "a-ha" experience I had while reading this book is that some of the teams I have been on - teams where we all got along just fine - shared at least some of the five dysfunctions which made them less than effective.
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93 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather simplistic view of complex phenomena... August 7, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While there is nothing wrong with the material presented, one cannot believe this is all there is to it.

Making Teams work involves a considerable investment of time and energy, and also depends on the circumstances. Under pressure of an immediate threat - even adversaries can band together into a tight cohesive team. When such threats are gone - they fall back to natural behaviors, and dysfunction can set it.

The 5 dysfunctions - Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability, and Inattention to Results - these are only the basics.

There are other important factors that make teams function or dysfunction, 3 of which are:

Common and time bound goals
Mutual respect
Skill sets to get the job done

Enjoy the book - it is an easy read, but keep in mind there is more to making teams work effectively!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Very easy read and it really kept my interest. Very well written! Very good information. I would definitely recommend! Excellent!
Published 7 hours ago by Dragonfly7110
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the approach
For me, I loved how Patrick was able to capture my attention through the story and taught me how to be a better leader along the way. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Ryan Nickel
1.0 out of 5 stars Socialism
The entire philosophy of the book is encapsulated in this idiotic Marxist statement:

"By shifting rewards away from individual performance to team achievement, the... Read more
Published 1 day ago by PrivacyAdvocate
5.0 out of 5 stars Team
Possibly the most insightful book I've ever read......and simple. It not only acknowledges "there is no I in team", it tells you how and why it occurs.
Published 1 day ago by Ted Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars meets expectations
Team building 101. A great way to have a small team understand the definition of what a team means. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Brian Darling
5.0 out of 5 stars Salient information
It is a simple read with profound meaning to be drawn. It is easy to understand the points due to it being presented as a story, this makes it quite easy to see how you and others... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Darryl Munro
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable for any organization
This is an easy ready and not highly technical. However, it hits the nail on the head of why organizations get bogged down. I highly recommend it.
Published 5 days ago by Judy C. Hames
4.0 out of 5 stars great read with valuable tools
This book articulated many of the challenges I have experienced over my career with many different teams. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Stephen H. Dart
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!!!
Easy read - great content!
Look forward to applying it at my job!
Looking forward to reading more of Patricks books!
Published 6 days ago by Czapiewski
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for team building
Loved it helps out with the teamwork. Helps you see things from different areas both in your work place and outside
Published 7 days ago by Dawn Slyter
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