Why Do Teams Fail?

Have you ever wondered why some teams are successful and others are not? As there are ingredients to create the perfect storm, there are ingredients to a highly functioning team.

Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team outlines in detail why teams fail. Today we will discuss the dysfunctions as well as ways to overcome them.

Why do Teams Fail?

Fear of Conflict – We often times hide our true thoughts and feelings to keep harmony on the team. No one will voice their opinions or question shaky opinions.

Avoidance of Accountability – How many of us have worked on teams where no one wanted to work or take responsibility for a task. Some team members will even shirk their responsibility.

Absence of Trust – Any time new teams are formed the individual team members want to get a feel for their teammates. New teams are a breeding ground for trust issues. Often times individuals have to prove themselves. This is true in the forming stage of any team. The members want to know what you add to the team.

Inattention to Results – The sole purpose of any team is to produce. Remember the old saying “I can do bad by myself” no one wants to be a part of a losing team. Some team members are on board for the status of being on the team.

Lack of Commitment – We have all been a party to teams that just cannot get it together. Decisions are made only to have them later changed. No one seems to want any sort of agreement nor will anyone commit to a common vision.

So, how do we make our teams successful?

Practical Applications:

One way to overcome fear of conflict is to confront any issues head-on. Conflict and the storming stage are par for the course with any team. Conflict is healthy as long as the team doesn’t stay there.

As a leader one must be candid with team members who avoid accountability. The leader must work to get their buy-in. It is important to invest in these members and learn their motivation for being part of the team.

Trust can be garnered on any team as long as the leader and members do not mind being vulnerable. When leading teams where trust is an issue one must be able to admit mistakes and be vulnerable first. The team needs to know that you are just like them. The leader can not be afraid to ask for help.

Results can be achieved by helping the team get rid of individual behavior. The leader must be intimate with the goal of the team and keep the team from getting distracted.

How do you ensure commitment? Be certain that the purpose and objectives of the team are clearly defined. The team must be aligned around common objectives. People enjoy working toward a clearly defined objective.

Great teams are not built over night. Identify the dysfunctions that plague your team and use the practical applications to overcome them. Soon you will be on your way to a highly performing and highly effective team.

Works Cited: Lencioni, P. (2002). The five dysfunctions fo a team. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

About The Author

Garion Bunn writes for Engaged Leadership Solutions. Engaged Leadership Solutionscoaches today’s leaders and executives to the fulfillment of their company’s goals through strategic motivation, inspiration and education. We help individuals awaken the leader within by motivating, inspiring and training.