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Summary for Five Dysfunctions of a Team



you see it on

  • creates resentment (Abneigung) among teammembers who have different standards of performance
  • encourages mediocrity (Mittelmäßigkeit)
  • misses deadlines and key deliverables
  • places an undue burden on the team leader as the sole source of discipline

leads to

team members shift their attention to areas other than collective results

  • avoid difficult conversations –>we need to enter the danger
  • fear of jeopardizing (aufs Spiel setzen) a valuable personal relationship
  • leads to deteriorate of relationsship(abwerten), Standards go down
  • good team have high expectations on each other and show it
  • build peer pressure

turned around

  • ensures that poor performers feel pressure to improve
  • identifies potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation (Zögerung)
  • establishes respect among team members who are held to the same high standards
  • *avoids excessive bureaucracy around performance management and corrective action

How to overcome

  • publication of goals and standards
    • clarify publicity exactly what the team needs to achieve, who needs to deliver what, how everyone must behave in order to succeed (open team goals)
    • enemy - ambiguity
    • keep goals open and make them visible
  • simple and regular progress reviews
    • give feedback on their performance (from teammember to teammembers)
  • team rewards (shifting away from individual goals)


  • Leader must not be the only source of discipline
  • must be arbiter (Schiedsrichter) if the team itself fails (rarly)


team members care about something other than the collective goals


  • make team goals and development more important than each individual team members goals
  • be result focussed - desire to win
  • make results clear, reward only those behaviours and actions that contribute to those results

you see it on

  • stagnates/fails to grow
  • rarely defeats competitors
  • loses achievement-oriented employees
  • encourages team members to focus on their own careers and invididual goals
  • is easily distracted (abgelenkt)

turned around

  • retains achievement-oriented employees
  • minimizes individualistic behaviour
  • enjoys success and suffers failure acutely
  • avoids distractions
  • benefits from individuals who subjugate their own goals/interests for the good of the team

How to overcome

  • Public declaration of results
    • make public proclamations about intended success
    • commit publicly to specific results - and wor with a passionate, even desperate desire to achieve those results
  • Never use We’ll do our best
  • Result based rewards
    • tie compensation to the achievement of specific outcomes


  • set tone to focus on results
  • must be selfless and objective
  • reserve rewards and recognition for those who make real contributions to the achievement of group goals


TRUST - confidence among team members that their peers intentions are good and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group

  • teammembers must get vulnerable with one another
  • weaknesses, skill deficiencies, interpersonal shortcomings, mistakes, request for help
  • effect - focus their energy and attention completely on the job at hand (instead of being political and strategically disingenuous (hinterlistig))
    • (often loose a lot of power in managing behaviours and interactions, reluctant to take risks, dread (fürchten) team meetings, )

teamwork is impossible

you see it on

  • conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another
  • hesítate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback
  • hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility
  • jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without clarifying them
  • fail to recognize and tap into one anothers skills and experiences
  • waste time and energy managing their behaviours for effect
  • hold grudges (Groll, Neid)
  • dread meetings and find reasons to avoid spending time together

turned around

  • admit weaknesses and mistakes
  • ask for help
  • accept questions and input about their areas of responsibility
  • give one another the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion
  • take risi´ks in offering feedback and assistance
  • appreciate and tap into one another’s skills and experiences
  • focus tiem and energy on important issues, not politics
  • offer and accept apologies without hesitation
  • look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group


  • shared experiences
  • in dept understanding of the unique attributes of team members
  • personal history exercise
  • team effectiveness execise:
    • identify single most important contribution of each peer makes to the team and one area that must improve or be eliminated for the good of the team
  • personal profiles
  • 360 degree feedback


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