Why don't teams always work?

What goes wrong in teams?

We have all belonged to teams that are not as effective as they are intended to be.

On this page we explore some of the common problems in teams and suggest ways to resolve them.

Why are teams sometimes dysfunctional?

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, Patrick Lencioni explores why even the best teams struggle.

The five dysfunctions are:

  • absence of trust
  • fear of conflict
  • lack of commitment
  • avoidance of accountability
  • inattention to results.

They are visually represented in the form of a pyramid to underline that you cannot resolve the issues of a higher level without addressing the lower level needs first.

A helpful article summarizes the book can be found HERE.

How to manage conflict in a team?

One of the central differences between an average team and a high-performance work team is the capability to handle conflict in a constructive way. Any conflicts that surface must be depersonalized and dealt with early, either between individuals or among the collective team. Instead of viewing conflict as a negative, a high-performance team views it as a strength of the collective group. Diverse views help improve thinking, learning and overall performance.

Identify potential conflict situations involving a member of staff, a student or a parent.

Collaboratively share how you have previously handled such situations - which strategies have you used? How do you approach the situation?

Watch the video of the Thomas-Kilman conflict model 

Reflect: which key words, phrases resonate - why?


How to resolve workplace conflicts,The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).


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