Patrick Lencioni


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

5 Dysfunction Cover

by Patrick Lencioni

A Leadership Fable

Side Note: This is legitimately a fable. The entire book is told front to back with no analysis until the end.


  • The storytelling approach makes this book very easy to approach, and is very effective in conveying both the difficulties and common reactions to tough situations.
  • Interestingly, I believe this book, though dealing with fundamental concepts, is extremely powerful, so much so that I would recommend it to Senior Leadership.
  • This book does a fantastic job at presenting the very complex, very simply, but still giving a solid rubric (a 5 part pyramid) to apply its principles.


This book presents conflict as a cornerstone of healthy teams, and walks through how to create an environment of trust to encourage this behavior, ultimately improving results.

Who should read?

This book is great for anyone, and is pretty concise. Required reading for the management path.

Important concepts

  • Foundation to top: Lack of trust, lack of conflict, lack of commitment, lack of accountability, inattention to results. You require each level before moving to the next (like Maslow).
    • This matches other books, but builds it in a way that makes a ton of sense, and in a very concise way. For this, it deserves major bonus points.
    • In particular, I think conflict = commitment which then = accountability was most interesting to me. It seems obvious, but just read the book. :)
  • The fable is a well-funded, struggling tech company's board ousting a CEO, appointing a new one, and the executive team struggling with trusting one another.


The delivery mechanism (the fable) is a clever way to both engage the reader and cement the core ideas. The lessons all seem so obvious in the context of the story, in part because they are (to some extent) obvious, but also because the framing sets the reader up perfectly to get whacked over the head with each new concept.

Even if you don't remember each level the pyramid exactly - the shape is used to model the titular 5 dysfunctions - you will remember the dysfunctions in your real world context. This book is an easy read, and has hokey but fun little quirks, like ending chapters with "cliffhangers. Highly recommend for everyone at every level as the impacts of the dysfunctions on a team are not the sole responsibility of leadership, but are incumbent on every member of the team to address.

- Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess