In 2005, I met best-selling author, Pat Lencioni, while attending an event for Perot Systems, where I was serving as CEO. Pat was the featured speaker, presenting on his second book, then recently-published, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. The session was incredibly powerful and his words have remained with me and affected the way I try to lead.
Pat has now written a total of 11 books that have been published in 30 languages and sold more than six million copies worldwide. Recently, Unisys was fortunate to have Pat join us and share how we can foster collaborative teams and recruit team players.
As leaders, we must embrace change and ensure that our teams can excel, win business and move forward together. Pat’s approach certainly resonates.
Overcoming the five dysfunctions
Often, teams fail when members prioritize their individual results ahead of the team.
I encourage you to champion the following:
Foster vulnerability-based trust. Take the time to build relationships and discover shared connections with teammates. Our vulnerabilities, including our ability to acknowledge our mistakes, allow us to see each other as people (flaws and all) and not statistics to begin the process of building trust.
Encourage and embrace conflict. If we trust one another, we can engage in healthy conflict, achieving a better answer or solution. When dealing with conflict, ensure all viewpoints and perspectives are heard from each person engaged in the process.
Ensure team commitment. When we commit to listen to one another and encourage all voices, we make more informed and strategic decisions. Teams that are united in their decisions feel a stronger sense of commitment to solve problems, and help one another so that they may succeed together.
Hold each other accountable. Hold all team members to the same standards, recognizing that teams are the primary unit of delivery and success.
Focus on the collective result. Our shared goals must take precedent over our individual goals. A great team acknowledges it is stronger than the sum of its parts.
Creating team players
During Pat’s presentation, he also mentioned his book, The Ideal Team Player. Critical to an organization’s growth is its ability to prioritize behavioral traits over technical skills. We can develop skills, but it is much harder to change attitudes. When identifying, hiring and developing talent, seek all these values:
Humble. Individuals who are humble are willing to admit their flaws and center their focus on the greater good of the team.
Hungry. Individuals who are hungry seek more, never settle and strive to go above and beyond for their teams.
Smart. Individuals who are smart in an interpersonal sense, are self-aware and understand the impact of their behaviors. They are also perceptive of those around them.
Ultimately, Pat’s books are a resource in your ever-expanding toolkit. His words help us all be strong leaders and, most importantly, be the best teammates.
Peter A. Altabef has served as chair of the board of Unisys Corporation since April 2018, and as CEO of Unisys since January 2015. He also served as president of the company from September 2015 to March 2020.