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A few weeks ago, I attended a leadership training for my school. Beforehand, we were asked to read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. Inwardly, I groaned, thinking that it would be a struggle to get through a self-help book which was not of my choosing. I started reading right away, thinking it would take me awhile.

4fdc53a09da051e606316110.L._AA240_Based on the premise that successful organizations begin with teamwork, Patrick Lencioni sets up the five pitfalls that unsuccessful teams succumb to. They are (in order of importance), absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. In simpler terms, they are invulnerability, artificial harmony, ambiguity, low standards, and status/ego.

Most of the book is written as a story-a fictional company has major problems despite the incredible wealth of talent among its leaders. In swoops a new CEO, with little experience but a lot of knowledge about team building. She begins the process of team building by helping each member understand the truth to why their company is failing.

In creating a fictional story, Lencioni does a good job of setting up each pitfall that can plague a team. The story itself is interesting, and it sure beats reading a list of do’s or don’ts. By showing each of the five pitfalls through character flaws, the reader more deeply understands the importance of each way a team should function.

After the story ends, Lencioni includes a brief section where readers can take a mini-assessment of their team, as well as a section for help in overcoming each dysfunction. Though never really specifically pinpointed, you can see the importance and value of effective leadership, including tools that a leader must possess.

I truly enjoyed reading this book (I couldn’t put it down!), and I found it extremely helpful in thinking about working with others. I feel that Lencioni revealed an extremely important value which we all need: humility. I found myself evaluating my own attitudes about being on different teams in my life, and quite honestly, I was a little ashamed. It gave me good perspective when thinking about how I should be interacting with my teammates, and I really considered the lack of commitment that has been plaguing my life. I highly recommend this book for leaders or team members on any sort of team: sports, business, family, work, accountability, etc. If you decide to read it, don’t forget to read the acknowledgments, and let me know what you think!

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