I work with lots of teams that are either in crisis or transition. But I rarely hear of teams that are both achieving results and are a pleasure to be a part of. This is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of the "team."
Simply put, "team" is just business language for "community"—the glorious intersection of task and people. For thousands of years, the Bible has spoken of using our giftedness in community. Strong leadership emerges in biblically functioning, God-honoring, Christ-forming community. On the other hand, since community is made of people, you can be sure every community is susceptible to dysfunction. So how do we develop and sustain a group that doesn't simply tout the buzzword of teamwork, but is actually the real deal—a healthy, high-performing team?
My introduction to Patrick Lencioni's work on leadership came when my boss at Willow Creek Community Church assigned us to read the first 30 pages of The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive (Jossey-Bass, 2000) by our next meeting. I had been inoculated enough times to be skeptical of "the next best leadership book." So I took the book, nodded my head, and left with absolutely no intention of reading it.
The night before the meeting, a sliver of guilt prompted me, begrudgingly, to crack open the book so I could at least participate in a cursory discussion the next day. I read the book cover to cover—couldn't put it down—captivated by Patrick's leadership principles and his view of the dignity of people. I sensed I had just read one of those rare books that, if I could implement its ideas, would transform my leadership for years to come. Patrick's later book, however, may be his hallmark work: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Jossey-Bass, ...