Our current blog series discusses the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. The book details 5 areas in which even the best teams struggle to master and our last blog in this series will discuss how inattention to results keeps teams from maximizing their potential.
The final dysfunction we will discuss is inattention to results, which is typically caused by being too caught up in our own status and ego. When individual team members seek individual recognition at the expense of team goals, everyone loses. Lencioni clarifies that the team’s “score” is more important than any individual “score” and we must define the team’s goals with such clarity that it is obvious what the score is…. and nobody would consider doing something to jeopardize the team’s standing.
Every coach on every team teaches this principle, yet it is by far one of the most difficult concepts to master. The media and presence of awards constantly compares athletes to each other, which will inevitably heighten one’s desire to come out on top. It’s a natural feeling and not one you should be ashamed of; however, it is critical to be aware of when your desire for an award or media attention overshadows what you should be doing for your team. Athletes often feel that if they are playing their best, the team will automatically benefit; however, that is neglecting the bigger picture. You must play your best in your assigned role for the team to truly benefit. And then continue to work hard to earn a bigger role.
We have worked with numerous teams that had the talent to win, yet failed to reach their team goals because the individuals were too concerned with their individual accomplishments. We have also worked with numerous teams who have defied the odds in terms of talent because each team member was completely committed to playing their defined role. They didn’t just nod their heads and say they were committed to the team goal, they demonstrated it every single day. Behaviors such as helping and thanking teammates lower on the depth chart, encouraging each other through workouts, and sincerely applauding your teammates’ accomplishments that contribute to the team goals are all ways you can keep your focus on the team goals, and not get distracted by your own individual motivations.
Lencioni emphasizes that the theory behind teamwork is quite simple, but actually applying the principles is a process that requires discipline, courage, and persistence. Leaders must fully embrace these principles and be tenacious in their decisions and behaviors that promote good teamwork.
We will soon be releasing a new module on How to be a Great Teammate that will include more strategies on focusing on team results!
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