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Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jan 10th, 2021


Grouping is an essential element for the success of a corporate organization in the contemporary world of business. Groups formed for the mutual benefit of members, where every member contributes for the benefit of all, is one of the oldest social groupings formed since the civilization of humanity. Groups are formed with the ideology that two is better than one, thus implying that greater success is more likely to be achieved by two or more people as compared to the achievements of an individual. For a corporate organization to achieve greater success, groupings are essential for complementing the effective leadership of the corporate leaders, which is a key element for success.

Susan Wheelan, the author of the book, Creating effective teams: a guide for members and leaders, defines groupings as the foundation tool for the development of effective teamwork in a corporation. The greatest advantage of corporate groupings is the ability to save time and enhance the quality of work output. Grouping facilitates the break down of complex tasks into simpler tasks that are assigned to individual members as opposed to an individual, handling the entire task in the case where grouping is not done. Groupings eradicate the likelihood of monotony in decision making whereby a leader makes decisions solely without consulting other individuals in an organization. This aspect enhances the feeling of belonging in the minds of the individual members of an organization.1

Groups play a critical role in increasing the knowledge base of the leaders and their subordinates in an organization.2 Given the complexity of work in the contemporary world, it is becoming hard for leaders to make decisions that affect the overall performance of an organization on their own. Today’s corporate culture cannot accommodate dictatorial leadership due to innovation and technological demands, which call for a work environment that is conducive to innovation and creativity.3 Dictatorial leadership limits the ability of creative and innovative minds, hence lowering the competitive advantage of an organization. Hence, leaders should incorporate other members in the decision-making process through groupings to make decisions that accommodate innovative and creative minds.

However, many people do not like working in groups as they fear that groups are likely to waste time and complicate the decision-making process due to the high likelihood of disagreements arising from the members. An effective group calls for two crucial ingredients that include effective leadership skills and a good relationship with the members. Effective leadership skills are very necessary for the effectiveness of the group as effective leaders uphold the desire of the groups more than their interests uphold, and, thus they work hard towards the realization of the group objectives. Besides, they understand the will of the individual members and respect their opinions by handling them diligently.

Failure by the group leaders to handle group members with respect and courtesy dims the chances of the group becoming a team. Wheelan defines a team as a group that has clearly defined goals and objectives where too much knowledge and skills are necessary for the accomplishment of complex tasks. Teamwork is a crucial ingredient for the success of a corporate organization, as complex tasks should be executed for the effective realization of corporate objectives. However, not all groups can become teams due to their failures to have clearly defined objectives or ineffective relationships with their members.

Concrete Response

In my life, I have more than once experienced the effectiveness of teamwork in the execution of complex tasks, and grouping was the initial step in the formation of an effective team. I realized at an early age that I have a heart for charity after visiting Calcutta, India, where a charity mission for Mother Theresa is situated. We had gone there as a family, and we had a good time with the sick, orphans, and dying people poor people. Our hearts sunk, and that enabled us to serve the people we met with great kindness and mercy as we interacted with nuns, who are the successors of Mother Teresa’s mission to the world.

After getting back to the country, I had an opportunity to share my experiences with the poor people with my fellow youths in the church. Many hearts were touched by the stories and consequently, we formed a church group for the youth that carries out charitable missions to the needy in society. Charity is truly a complex task in which nobody can exhaust the charity mission in any given society without cooperating with other members of society.4

Through our youth group, we are in a position to share individual responsibilities in the accomplishment of our mission, which is to serve the needy people in society. Over the years, the group has grown tremendously in terms of membership and frequency of carrying out our missions in society. Looking closely into the functions of our group, I realize that teamwork has kept the fire burning and the mission work soldiers on as we strive to give some love in an ailing world.


I wonder how a group has to be the building unit of an effective team. I believe that a team comprises members who carry out different tasks simultaneously towards the accomplishment of a common goal. For instance, in soccer, we have a team of players, but rather not a group of players. Each player is good at a specific position, and s/he executes a task whenever the ball falls into that position and a successful pass to a player in another position marks the successful completion of a task without the ball falling into the opponent’s possession. Hence, a team works for a common goal, but every member of the team has a specific position to handle for the goal to be accomplished.

In the case of corporate organizations, teamwork is marked by the division of labor whereby each leader or employee works for a certain department that is related to others in the sense that it complements the efforts of other departments through the successful execution of its mandate. This aspect seems obvious, but the idea of groupings is the initial foundation of the system, whereby some decision-makers agree on the formation of a group with a common objective. The entire corporate system, which comprises various departments forming individual groups, forms a complete team that works towards a common objective. Hence, a group seems not to be the building unit of the team, but rather the nature of the task that members are expected to execute and how it can be divided to involve every member independently from others.


This book has been of great help to my life, and I have decided to apply its teachings into my life and especially in our church youth group whereby I am a leader. The ideology that teamwork is effective when every member executes a task independently of others is crucial in the sense that I would establish the charitable tasks and subdivide them into smaller units. Each subdivision ought to be independent of others, but form a crucial part in the overall realization of goals and objectives.

As aforementioned, charity is a complex task that even we as a group cannot exhaust due to the time and resources that are needed and more, so the dynamism of human life and economic status. Some of the activities that we normally do as a group involve visiting the sick in hospitals, visiting the prisoners, and offering spiritual and counseling sessions to them; also, we visit the old aged people in the care centers and orphans. We also contribute towards international aids needed to assist our needy brothers and sisters in foreign missions.

I find it necessary to subdivide the entire mission into subgroups and assign each group some members to enhance the quality of our mission work. For instance, we should have groups that specialize in visiting the sick at hospitals and others that visit prisoners and old aged, but members could alternate after a specified period. This aspect would enable us to pay more frequent visits to needy people than we have been doing in the recent past. I find this a good idea since each group shall have a leader who will be focused on enhancing the quality missions of our entire charity organization and more, so look into the interests and opinions of every member. The timeline for the execution of this plan should not exceed two weeks from now.


Agazarian, Yvonne. Systems-Centred Therapy for Group. New York: Karnac Books, 2004.

Levi, Daniel. Group Dynamics for Teams. London: Sage Publications, 2007.

Wheelan, Susan. Creating Effective Teams: A Guide for Member and Leaders. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2010.


  1. ­Susan Wheelan, Creating Effective Teams: A Guide for Member and Leaders (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2013), 3-4.
  2. Ibid, 8.
  3. Yvonne Agazarian, Systems-Centered Therapy for Group (New York: Karnac Books, 2004), 34-56.
  4. Daniel Levi, Group Dynamics for Teams (London: Sage Publications, 2007), 78-90.
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