Military Book Reviews

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Book Review, Five Dysfunctions

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni, (Jossey-Bass, April 11, 2002, 229 pages)

Captivating and well written. Lencioni illustrates the importance of a strong organizational foundation and ways to overcome a dysfunctional team through a leadership fable that takes place in Silicon Valley, California. There are two parts to this book. The first part is a page-turner fable filled with candid stories, conflicts, and lessons to be learned from each of the executive members of DecisionTech, Inc., a realistic but fictional and young technology company that experienced ongoing disappointments. The second part concludes with an overview of the model that was used to resolve the issues with this dysfunctional team in part with an emphasis on team efforts. 

The newly hired CEO, Kathryn, who is an older woman with a stellar past performance, but has no experience with technology companies, is pressured to confront the troubled executive team with a quick solution.

The Five Dysfunctions Model

After obtaining buy-ins from the board, she is able to overcome the company challenge and guide the team to determine the root causes of decreased performance and sales. Then, with the power of team collaboration, the executive team is able to reposition the company to success through Kathryn’s Five Dysfunctional Model. 

This model may seem simple, but it is informative and challenging. The foundation that glues the team together is mutual understanding and trust building. For the latter, the team members are encouraged to enter productive conflicts. Conflicts can be difficult, but engaging in productive conflicts without destructive fighting and interpersonal politics can lead to new ideas, change, and growth that may lead to job satisfaction and engender a high level of commitment. Change in a company requires commitment and buy-in that benefits everyone’s ideas. But, not everyone likes change, especially when it affects them. Sometimes the leader may need to let the individual go if there is a negative impact on the team regardless of how talented they are. It is not an easy task and a strong leader must be capable of delivering a clear message. Setting expectations and having buy-in are the keys that connect this model. It is as important as holding each other accountable to achieve collective results. 

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable is entertaining and powerful. Lencioni presented the five principles of leadership in an easy read fable that immediately captures the readers’ attention and contains many ah-ha moments that relate to many readers’ past and current roles in an organization. Highly recommended for anyone interested in leadership books and teamwork.  


Review contributed by Dong Logan. She is a DODReads book review contributor and a Naval Officer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking her Golden Retriever, and spending time with the family. For more information on Logan, connect with her on LinkedIn at

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