The Last Dysfunction of a Team

This week’s book of the week is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. The first four dysfunctions of team discussed in the last two articles (Wednesday’s Book of the Week and Three Core Dysfunctions of a Team) were absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, and inattention to results. The final dysfunction is “avoidance of accountability” as evidence by low standards.¹ What exactly does that look like?

“Once we achieve clarity and buy-in, it is then that we have to hold each other accountable for what we sign up to do, for high standards of performance and behavior. And as simple as that sounds, most executives hate to do it, especially when it comes to peer’s behavior, because they want to avoid interpersonal discomfort… …as hard as it is sometimes to enter the danger with your direct reports and confront them with something sticky, it’s even harder with your peers.”²

Photo Credit: Dragomir Vujnovic. Used by Permission

Photo Credit: Dragomir Vujnovic. Used by Permission.

When we hold each other to a higher standard we all win. It’s one thing to believe it. It’s another to live it. Why is it so important that you have clarity and buy-in first? So that we know what the measuring stick for accountability is. I think this is why so many times that low performers don’t realize that they are low performers. Expectations are not set for them. And there are no clear goals. According to what goals are in their mind, they are doing a fabulous job. They exceed at their job, because those expectations are not clearly laid out in front of them. Or expectations are fuzzy and not well equipped which leads to not believing the validity of the request, resulting in no buy-in.

How do you as a leader communicate your expectations? Does your team understand where they fall when it comes to those expectations. Would they also say that you clearly communicate your expectations? Does your team hold each other accountable?

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Sarah Jackson

Vigilant Poster Girl

Every week I talk about a book that we’re reading on leadership and self-development. You can follow along by going to the Book of the Week page at the top. And order a book (either kindle, audible, or paperback) by clicking on the photo of that book. When you do that, it also helps fund this site. 


  1. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni pg 97
  2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni pg 98

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