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All Teams are Dysfunctional: 4 Ways to Identify Yours

Most of the great teams I’ve either been a part of or observed have one thing in common: They feel like family.

They are comfortable with each other in a way that only comes through true commitment to one another and their purpose.

But even great families have their dysfunction. Patrick Lencioni said it this way in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: “The fact remains that teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”

So what is your team’s dysfunction? Do you know what it is?

The trouble with dysfunction is we can get so used to operating within it that we don’t know it’s there.

It’s unlikely you’ll ever completely remedy your team’s dysfunction, but you do need to know to what dysfunction you are prone.

And although it’s painful to admit, as the leader you are more than likely responsible for either creating or perpetuating the dysfunction. (Sorry, painful but true.) 

Dysfunction undetected or neglected will eventually wear on the unity and camaraderie of your team.

“Like a car with an engine that can’t fire on all cylinders, a business that’s dysfunctional may move forward for a while. But eventually it stops running.” “With a close-knit staff, it’s easy to make allowances for people’s tempers or bad moods or refusal to take responsibility. But, sooner or later, that kind of thinking catches up with you and the business.” (From Microsoft Business)

So how do you identify your dysfunction?

1. Seek outside counsel.

It could be a business leader in your church who has experience coaching teams. It could be a consultant you hire.

There are also great tools, such as the aforementioned Patrick Lencioni book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

(and corresponding workbook).

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A self-proclaimed “leadership junkie,” Jenni spends her days serving the local church. Most recently she served for nine years as the Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where she led the staff and oversaw the ministry of its five campuses. Jenni is the founder of Cultivate Her. She loves great books, the perfect cup of tea, playing a game of tennis with her husband and hanging with her dog Mick.