A Paper Submitted To
Liberty Theological Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For Completion of the Course
LIBERTY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Goal setting is imperative for any team to succeed. One of the ways for achieving this task is to learn and overcome the five dysfunctions of a team. Patrick Lencioni’s book, Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a field guide designed to teach teams how to accomplish this task. The absence of trust is the first dysfunction viewed in Lencioni’s book. There are many reasons why team members do not trust each other. The goal is for a team to become trusting of one another emotionally and fundamentally. Through meetings, workshops, and offsite events, members can participate in activities where they share their weaknesses, fears, goals, and opinions. The fear of conflict is dysfunction 2. This fear is common in Christian Leadership teams. Conflict is important to teamwork. Learning how to work through conflict is the real issue. Lencioni writes in his book that trust is the important ingredient in mastering conflict. Dysfunction number 3 is the lack of commitment. Lencioni defines commitment as the “ability to defy a lack of consensus.” In another words teams can get along and get the job accomplished, even when not everyone agrees with each other. Exceptional leaders are those that lead a team to a decision and commitment to an idea. Dysfunction number four is Avoidance to Accountability. Teams that commit to decisions and standards of performance expect each other to be accountable. Each team member must be held accountable in order for the team to accomplish its goals. Dysfunction number five is the Inability to focus on results. The author writes; “We have a strong and natural tendency to look out for ourselves before others, even when those others are part of our families and our teams.” According to the book, a team is made up of on average three to twelve people. This group shares common goals as well as the success of performing well together. Personal needs should be set aside for the benefit of the team. Being part of a team requires some measure of risk. In a society full of people who are used to working by themselves, this could prove to be difficult. An effective team should know how to resolve conflicts professionally without risk of separating the team.
It is essential for the team leader to be an effective communicator. Agendas must be communicated in a timely fashion. Some communications may cause conflict, but the leader must affectively handle such a situation. “Cascading communication is communication that should take place within twenty four hours of the leadership meeting.” It is necessary to keep the lines of communication open after a meeting has occurred. This is one way to build trust and avoid conflict.
Conflicts are not to be avoided in the workplace. There is a right way and a wrong way to address conflicts. One tool that can be used is the Thomas Kilman conflict model. This model explains five different ways to deal with conflict. This model is based on variables such as how people review their assigned task in comparison to how they value relationships with their fellow employees. The purpose of this model is to make people aware of how they communicate to other people.
Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team has brought into light many ideas I never would have considered. I am a leader in the program’s ministry of a local church. The video that played in my head throughout the reading of the book was the story of my work place. I am in charge of the children’s after school activities; which includes Summer Camp. I have a supervisor who is in charge of all programs at the church. I am responsible for a staff of twelve employees. When I have meetings with them my boss will interrupt us with her own agenda. She will come...
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