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Book review: The five dysfunctions of a team


I have read this book for the purpose of learning how to develop more successful teams and how to recognize destructive behaviors among my work colleagues and in me. Did I learn it? Definitely yes!

Shortly about the book at all

I would say that the book is splitted into two parts: first one about the story of Kathryn who needs to get rid of destructive behaviors from her new team, and the second part which is a summary of the five dysfunctions pyramid.

The five dysfunctions

I would say that the most important part of the book is discovering the next and next steps of the dysfunctions pyramid.


That’s the real point of the book. To list these dysfunctions, describe them and explain how we (as leaders or just teammates) can get rid of them or won't introduce them to the team. I would like to write shortly about each level of a pyramid.

Absence of trust

Overall it's unwilling to be vulnerable within the group. You are afraid of making mistakes (eg. you know it comes with public blame).

Fear of conflict

People will not debate. They will just accept what is, without wanting to change, regardless if the current option is good or not.

Lack of commitment

No one wants to make a commitment. This means lack of change and ambiguous situations in the organization (e.g. we have procedures that no one needs or wants).

Avoidance of accountability

Avoidance of accountability leads to nott challenging people about actions or mistakes that could hurt the entire group.

Inattention to results

Focusing on personal success except team success. It can lead to situations where people won’t operate in terms of team success, and do actions only to achieve personal goals. Also, it can lead to faking a team's performance to make their own achievements shine.

My feelings

Personally, I didn’t like the first part of the book (Kathryn’s story), for me it was too long and without much details. But! I definitely loved the second part of the book:

Summary and more detailed explanation of the five dysfunctions pyramid. I will recommend this book to everyone - it teaches not only about faster and better achieving goals but mainly about having a comfortable and secure work environment. We spend about 1 ⁄ 3 of our lives, so the atmosphere at the job is incredibly important.

I learnt so much from the book and spot some of the dysfunctions in my past or present teams. So that’s the time to use that knowledge in real life to make a better work environment!