The Leading Teams class at Johns Hopkins University is a team of 18 Juniors and Seniors facilitated by Professor Mary Clare Coghlan and TA Katie McCarren. Our team’s goal this Spring 2020 semester was to understand and develop the skills and tools necessary to effectively lead and work in teams. Throughout our time together, we utilized Patrick Lencioni’s book: “The Five Dysfunction of a Team” where he addresses the root causes of organizational issues and difficulties and how to overcome them. Originally we were going to organize a live conference, but due to the coronavirus we could not. We then pivoted as a class to instead create a website where we detail what we have learned through interviewing experienced industry professionals and through mass surveys.



Leading the Way

Our mission is to help others develop as leaders through the discovery and understanding of the key aspects of leadership using the five dysfunctions most often found in teams.



Committed to Excellence

Dysfunctional teams are present throughout our lives- whether it be in athletic teams, college organizations, or within small and large corporations. Our mission in creating this website is to understand how these dysfunctions have impacted professionals from various fields as well as how the five dysfunctions come to play across various demographics. We hope the information we have collected can help you understand and solve dysfunctions in your own teams- ultimately bringing you closer to success in your field! The five dysfunctions are shown below.


The root cause of this dysfunction is team members unwilling to open up and show their weaknesses. Teams can overcome this by sharing experiences, following through on commitments, and demonstrating credibility.


Teams fearing conflict are unable to have unfiltered, passionate debate. Artificial harmony is just as bad as negative conflict. When working in teams, one needs to understand that conflict is necessary.


Without proper conflict, is is not easy for team members to commit and buy-in into decisions, which leads to ambiguity. Productive teams make joint and transparent decisions and are confident that they have the support of each team member.


When teams don’t commit, you can’t have accountability: “people aren’t going to hold each other accountable if they haven’t clearly bought into the plan”. In a well-functioning team, it’s the responsibility of each team member to hold one another accountable and accept it when others hold them accountable.


A team can only become results oriented when all team members place the team’s results first. When individuals aren’t held accountable, team members naturally tend to look out for their own interests. Teams can overcome this by making team results clear and rewarding behaviors that contribute to the team’s results.



We interviewed industry leaders on how they lead in their teams, and what the five dysfunctions means to them. The tabs at the top correspond to each dysfunction and has excerpts from our interviews on how they deal with that certain dysfunction



Dr. Andrew Cosgarea is a professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine, as well as the Head Team Physician for the Johns Hopkins University Department of Athletics. He was the Baltimore Orioles Team Physician prior, from 2000 - 2010. He has been featured in the 2012 Becker’s Spine Review as one of the “125 Knee Surgeons and Specialists to Know” and the 2017 Becker’s ASC Review as one of the “106 Knee Surgeons to Know.”

©2020 by the Leading Teams class