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February 14, 2023

Team Dynamics & The Five Behaviors™

Categories:  Resources | Teaming | Assessments
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“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.” ~ Patrick Lencioni

Good employees spend so much time becoming experts in their field. They’re always reading the latest books, going to industry conferences, and learning from others about the intricacies of what they do.

However, when it comes to the work most people actually do, it is often based more on how teams function than on their individual knowledge. Yet, companies spend so little time training or learning about what it means to work on a team.

Every meeting you’re in consists of a team. Teams can be complex; team members do not need to belong to the same department or group of people who report to the same manager. Every meeting you’re in consists of a team. Everyone can imagine those meetings where things seem to flow seamlessly and the ones where you come away feeling like nothing flowed.

Working with a team is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced consistently and intentionally.

The Five Behaviors™

More than twenty years ago, Patrick Lencioni wrote The Five Dysfunctions of a Team to understand the dynamics of group behaviors in the corporate setting.

Since then, Wiley has reworked these dysfunctions with a positive spin to create The Five Behaviors™. These include trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results.

Wiley describes these five behaviors as building on top of each other like so:

  • Members of a truly cohesive team must trust one another in order to engage in unfiltered conflict.

  • They must engage in conflict so that they can commit to decisions and plans of action.

  • Once team members are committed, they can hold one another accountable for delivering against those commitments.

  • Holding one another accountable, they focus on the achievement of collective results.

As you might imagine, The Five Behaviors™ work for personal and team development. On a personal level, it helps individuals to better understand themselves and their roles within a team through the principles of The Five Behaviors™. For teams, it helps participants better understand themselves, the personalities on their team, and how they can effectively work together.

The Importance of Team Development

With more of the workforce turning to remote or hybrid work since the pandemic, team development is more important than ever. There is not the same opportunity to practice building relationships with your colleagues in the remote work environment. When you get on a virtual meeting, you often get straight to work, which means that time needs to be as effective as possible.

One reason not many people focus on becoming better team members is that most think they are effective already. A 2020 study from Wiley found that 99% of employees surveyed say that they are effective team members.

The reality is that 80% are unwilling to share their weakness at work, 55% leave meetings without everyone committing to agreed-upon decisions, and 60% report that their team members refuse to take accountability for their actions.

There is a genuine cognitive disconnect between how employees think they show up in team dynamics and reality.

Most organizations are no longer working on a hierarchical model where each department is siloed from the rest of the company. Now, we often see more diverse teams forming for specific projects or campaigns. People never know when they might be in a team with someone they’ve never worked with before.

While it can be helpful to learn about the dynamics within a department and even the personality of the closest colleagues, it’s beneficial to understand the basics of good team dynamics so those skills can be brought along to every meeting, project, or special campaign.

Improving Team ROI

Everyone in the corporate world knows the importance of return on investment (ROI.) If companies want their teams to get the most out of their collaborations, it’s important to work on the skill of being a good team player.

If that sounds like something your team could benefit from, we recommend getting certified in The Five Behaviors. You can find out more about the certification process here.

If you need a guide along the way, we’d be happy to help. Reach out to us to get started. 


James and Lori

James Jackman and Lori Heffelfinger

Supporting Business Leaders to transform cultures, teams, and workplaces.

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