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The library of essays of Proakatemia

The Story We All Live

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni


Out of the 8 books I read this semester, this book was my favorite. It was my favorite for two reasons. The first, I was impacted the most by it and the second, because it was the most fun to read. I was greatly impacted because the principles were explained in a fable of a company, and how they learned to work as a team (in short). I am the type of person who automatically uses association so this made the ideas really hit me. This book was also excellently written, Lencioni did not only use events and dialogue in the story but included the feelings each one in the team was thinking or how they approached or felt about the circumstance, which made the read that much more exciting to me. Having this book written like this gave the principles of the model make that much more sense. Which is laid out in the last 40 pages of the book.

The Principles

Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust

The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.

Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict

The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict.

Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment

The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.

Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability

The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.

Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results

The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

My thoughts

While reading this book I couldn’t help but feel like I and a terrible team player. Not only do I live out these dysfunctions to a T, but I see them as an advantage.

            Absence of trust

I have not lived in one place very long, to be honest, most of my life. In my childhood, my parents were divorced so I always had to pack a bag every other weekend, to go to my dad’s house. I also moved 3 times with my mom and step dad. This gave me a foundation that people are easily replaceable. I can always find a new friend to talk to, I have a step dad when my dad didn’t show up, etc.

When I was younger, I looked at the baseball teams and hockey teams I were on as a player to give my individual skills and I was there to do my best with what I was given that day. I was very inconsistent. My mentality was that if I kept practicing I would get better, I would play more. Not thinking if I had developed relationships and chemistry I could have played better with the team I was in.

I would not say that I have an absence of trust because I am not vulnerable, because I feel as though it is impossible to hide insufficiencies, why deny it, or make excuses. But I do feel that because I would tend to be vulnerable, others would tend to shy away from me and not want to interact with me, at all. I have had one great friend that came from a sports team I was on as a kid. I don’t know maybe this is normal but I don’t think it should be, if it is. I think my issue was I didn’t think people wanted to be vulnerable with me, therefore I didn’t want to have genuine conversations with people.

            Fear of conflict

Anyone who has spent 10 min. with me who has a different perspective than me, or doesn’t knows I am not afraid of conflict. I think my background in feeling that people are replaceable, allows me to not really care if another person gets upset with me at that moment. I would hope the feeling people would get around me is frustration, not necessarily with me but about the topic discussed. I take all conversations like we can learn something from one another. I also love to figure out why, why do I and why do they. I try to manage my conflicts in a way of discussion of ideas, no ideas are my own and neither are theirs. Therefore, whether I am “right” or “wrong” doesn’t matter, my goal is to understand the truth.

            Lack of Commitment

Now that we have some back story this is where it all begins to fall apart. I don’t think many in my generation likes commitment. I think because no one is sure if there is a better opportunity tomorrow. If there is take it. Right? In this land of endless opportunities, how do we choose?

            Avoidance of Accountability

Avoidance of Accountability is why all the other things under it in the triangle are the way they are for me. When I was younger, I hated being seen by others as a failure or a loser. Although I could face the fact that I wasn’t good at something, I didn’t want people to point it out to me. I also thought everyone was better than I was at everything, which gave me no right to make conflict with them. So, they couldn’t point out my faults either. Although I could build trust and wanted to something held us back. Although I wasn’t afraid of conflict I was a afraid someone would crush my pride, which caused this lack of commitment in all the teams I was in.

When I became older, I began to do this with my friendships as well. I began to be vulnerable but not in the areas that mattered. Since people are replaceable, why go there, why commit. There’s always a new opportunity tomorrow. This made it easy to live how I want and allow others to live how they want. Therefore, I saw these dysfunctions as an advantage to me because this would allow me to avoid humiliation and exposure to my failures.


            Inattention to results

This foundation allowed me to isolate myself and pursue my individual goals more. My intention was not to isolate myself, but to strengthen myself so that when I went to a team function I would benefit with my skills. I feel in ways I am so deep in to my thinking towards my personal goals and dreams it is hindering me from accomplishing anything that is worth something or matters. I have been building my personal skills so much I am out of touch with what will benefit others. In the end, I get left feeling lonely and unhelpful.


This is a great book seriously. I have approached life differently since I have read it. I have realized the places I shouldn’t commit to and should, so I can be more effective.

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