The #1 Team Killer? The CEO

In “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable,” Patrick Lencioni provides a model for building an effective and productive team. What kills teams? According to Lencioni, it’s the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. Only the CEO can lead a team to top performance by creating a healthy environment. Those who don’t are heading for failure or at least mediocrity.

Case in point: Lencioni tells an extremely compelling story in this video about a famous CEO who failed to build trust among his executive team. The company eventually folded, and Lencioni attributes this mostly to the negative executive team dynamics, which all stemmed from the leader.


Of Lencioni’s five dysfunctions, absence of trust and fear of conflict in particular are dramatically affected by the CEO’s leadership style, approach, and capabilities. Being humble and open to feedback goes a long way to establishing the credibility and trust needed to lead.

1 Comment

  1. FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM should be on every leader’s top 10 business books list! Another Lencioni book entitled GETTING NAKED contains similarly valuable insight for consultants to CEOs, most notably around the issue of transparency. We are of no value if we’re not willing to risk being flat wrong by sharing exactly what our inner voice is telling us about a situation. A corollary is that we have to be willing to call out the elephant in the room when one exists, e.g. a CEO who’s not creating a healthy environment.


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