Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” outlines the common dysfunctions that hold teams back from real success. I have a pretty darn good team, but no team functions perfectly, and upon reading Lencioni’s book, it made me more aware of my own contributions to the dysfunction of my team. As a team leader, I believe it’s my responsibility to eliminate the dysfunctions, and if I don’t start with myself, then I’m just a “bogus leader.” I don’t want to be a bogus leader, so here’s an outline of my solutions for ridding myself of each dysfunction.
Absence of Trust
This is caused by a lack of vulnerability that comes with not being “real” with the rest of the team. It’s hard to share personal shortcomings, mistakes and insecurities and to genuinely ask for help from those we lead—and that’s certainly true for me.
My solution: Talk daily about things that make me uncomfortable. Whether it’s my worries about the shifting market or my lack of understanding of an important topic, I will no longer pretend I have all the answers.
Fear of Conflict
This stems from a fear of being uncomfortable. Instead of risking discomfort, we commonly sweep things under the rug. Generally speaking, I don’t mind conflict, but this isn’t true when it comes to my team members. In fact, I’ll do just about anything to avoid having difficult discussions.
My solution: Address things now. I can do this and still treat my team members with respect. It’s my responsibility to ensure the team earns a profit…even if I have to have some difficult conversations along the way.
Lack of Commitment
This is created by a lack of clarity and buy-in. It’s easy for us to tell our team members what to do, but it’s difficult to make sure everyone clearly understands the team’s overall performance goals and is fully buying in.
My solution: Let team members help create team goals and action plans to achieve those goals. Even those who didn’t help create the plan must support it 100 percent. I will no longer be the only one on the team who actually knows where we’re going.
Avoidance of Accountability
This comes from an unwillingness to call out peers on performance or behaviors that hurt the team. Who wants to create drama by calling out the shortcomings of others? I sure don’t, and my team members don’t either. But accountability is essential to our growth as a team.
My solution: I’ll be more transparent about what I’m committing myself to accomplish, and encourage others to hold me accountable.
Inattention to Results
This happens when team members focus too much on something other than the collective goals of the group. For a year or so now, I’ve given more lip service to tracking team performance than to actually tracking it. We’ve focused more on individuals, and this needs to change.
My solution: Start zeroing in on team goals and performance. Provide weekly updates about where we are versus where we should be and what we need to do to catch up if we’re behind.
Cleve Gaddis is a master coach with Workman Success Systems and a team leader with Gaddis Partners, RE/MAX Center in Atlanta. He learned sales the hard way, selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door and now puts those skills to use in helping his team close $60 million annually. He loves to share his systems and strategies to help others succeed. He hosts the Call Cleve Atlanta Real Estate Show, heard weekly on NewsTalk 1160 WCFO. Contact him at Cleve@WorkmanSuccessSystems.com. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.