Motivating Your Team

With a new year comes a new opportunity for motivating your team. And while this may sound odd, let’s first start by discussing The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a popular leadership book written by Patrick Lencioni. Why? Simply put, these dysfunctions are extremely common, and can greatly hinder your team’s success. So before we can thrive, we must recognize the challenges we, as leaders, face when it comes to the teams we lead.

Let’s dive in!


Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust


“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.” (Lencioni)

Trust in a team is key. Essentially your team cannot operate, let alone be successful, if trust is absent. Evaluate your team: do you have new team members? Or, are all of your team members seasoned and accustomed to working together? No matter where you fall, consistent team building, in and out of the office, is a great exercise to either renew or strengthen a team’s ability to be effective and work well together.


Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict


“Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.” (Lencioni)

Conflict is not only natural, but also healthy. And no matter how long your team has been working together, conflict will inevitably take place. Encourage your team to voice their concerns and work together to address the issues. In the process, this exercise will also allow your team members to establish trust with one another and you.


Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment


“Most reasonable people don’t have to get their way in a discussion. They just need to be heard, and to know that their input was considered and responded to.” (Lencioni)

Not every idea can be implemented, or concern resolved overnight, but we can guarantee this: your team wants to be heard.


Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability


“Once we achieve clarity and buy-in, it is then that we have to hold each other accountable for what we sign up to do, for high standards of performance and behavior. And as simple as that sounds, most executives hate to do it, especially when it comes to a peer’s behavior.” (Lencioni)

We cannot stress the importance of accountability. Everyone has a role to play on the team, and it’s important that team members work to achieve their objectives, and contribute to the overall tasks and success of the team. If someone fails to do this, have a process in place where you address the team (or specific member) and issue at hand.


Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results


“Make the results that we need to achieve so clear that no one would even consider doing something purely to enhance his or her individual status or ego. Because that would diminish our ability to achieve our collective goals. We would all lose.” (Lencioni)

Two things: first, make sure your team understands what the bottom line is. What are you trying to achieve? What does the bigger picture look like? Second, encourage your team to think as a collective “we” instead of “I.” So essentially, if the team performs and succeeds, everyone wins. This is not to say individual performance and recognition isn’t important, it absolutely is, but in order for the team to work together and succeed there needs to be an emphasis on the “we.”

Tell us: when it comes to your team, what would you say is your greatest challenge? What about significant achievements? Need some help in this area? Contact us, today. We love to help teams figure out how to best work and succeed, together.

By Jeanne Reaves
At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, Jeanne specializes in coaching executives in a variety of industries. As a certified Personality Consultant, Jeanne employs technology and techniques to help her clients understand their executive teams’ unique abilities, maximize their productivity and manage them more effectively to enhance earnings.