Best Books for Small Business Owners Series: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Continuous learning is essential to business and careers success. As a small business owner, do you make time to continue developing yourself, considering new ideas and how you might apply them to your business? This is likely a challenge. But, one way to fit learning into your schedule is by reading or listening to great business books; and we’d like to help. With our Monthly Must-Reads series, we share the best books for small business owners.
Not only do we find books helpful for small business owners, but we also aim to save you time. For each book, we share who will benefit from reading it, the book’s key take-aways, and even reader reviews, so you can quickly determine whether it’s worth your valuable time.
This month, we’ll cover The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. For a list of past Monthly Must-Reads, like January’s Start with Why, check out the bottom of this article.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni
How leaders can uncover and address issues that prevent their teams from collaborating and performing successfully.
Fostering and leading a strong team takes more than a charismatic leader. It takes a leader who’s willing to do the hard work of uncovering and working through conflict, and a team that’s able to honestly identify and work through any issues that stand in the way of success.
Great for Small Business Owners Who:
Struggle with leadership, specifically creating cohesive, trusting teams
InThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni takes readers through a novel-style fable illustrating five common issues keeping teams from functioning at their highest potential. In his story, Kathryn is a fictional CEO hired to lead a team of rockstar executive leaders, who excel in their individual roles, but have trouble working together. The reader follows along as she guides the characters to overcome their political and interpersonal drama, all while discussing and addressing each type of dysfunction they exhibit.
After concluding the story, Lencioni outlines the concepts of each dysfunction with an pyramid illustration. He dives into each type of dysfunction, explaining how to recognize and address them. At the end, Lencioni offers a quiz that you and members of your team can take to understand your strengths and weaknesses within the pyramid.
Managing and working as a team not only takes discipline and communication, but also courage to overcome obstacles that can seem personal. The five dysfunctions teams often experience are:
- Absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
“Lencioni shares simple truths about teams that should be more intuitively obvious to everyone. Yet, these things are very easy to grasp while being very difficult to actually practice … without practice. This book focuses on what prevents a good team from forming and describes what’s needed. His companion book [Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators] focuses on the implementation of these ideas but does not stand alone. If you only get one, get this one. The biggest problem I see is that both books are framed about C-level and top-level executive teams. Very few mid-managers would have the leverage and ability to implement all of these principles at lower levels of the organization. It’s definitely possible in some cases, but it would significantly more challenging. His principles are universally true, but his coaching is directed at executives.”
“A must-have in any manager’s toolkit. I have loved this book for awhile and regularly give it on loan. A perfect way to understand the people aspect of team and support managers through what is a common situation. Very cleverly written and full of tools to help get dysfunctional teams moving in a shared direction. Also good for some self-analysis as everyone will identify their own character.”
Monthly Must-Read Business Books:
August, 2019 – Blitzscaling
September, 2019 – The E-Myth Revisited
October, 2019 – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
November, 2019 – Built to Last
December, 2019 – Multipliers
January, 2020 – Start with Why