HR Management, Leadership

10 Destructive Behaviors That Can Bring Down a Team’s Success

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You’ve spent years putting together a high-performance team that works well together. Team members often know what to do next before instructions are given to them and everything runs smoothly.

But then one team member gets a promotion, another one moves to another city, and you bring in two new hires. All of a sudden this previously highly-successful and high-performing team is a mess. Sales goals are coming up short, deadlines are missed and there’s an overall negative vibe in the air. What’s going wrong?

Here are 10 of the most common behaviors all companies need to watch out for that can bring down a high-performing team in no time:

  1. Power Coalitions – Small groups that defer mostly to each other, withholding acknowledgement or feedback to members outside of their “clique.
  2. Piranha Factor – Those who sabotage collaboration on a team, interrupt the free exchange of ideas and destroy team success. Usually a person who deliberately uses manipulation, coercion and sabotage for their personal gain.
  3. Complacency/Status Quo – Usually seen in team members who have been a part of an organization for many years. Their approach and thinking is to continue to operate as they historically operated; no new ideas, innovation or processes. The goal here is to change things up. Take that person out of his or her comfort zone and present them with new challenges. Implementing a bonus structure for meeting objectives is also beneficial to overcome this behavior.
  4. Lip Service (aka, walk the talk) – Seen with people who promise the world yet deliver very little. Make sure the employee is not just simply overwhelmed. Make it clear that trying to promote great service is important, but don’t promise what you won’t deliver.
  5. Competing Factions Within a Team – Two opposing groups both extremely passionate about their viewpoints. You must rebuild the team to be cohesive and high-performing.
  6. Round Here Thinking – Those team members who think certain strategies won’t work around here, even though they have been proven to work elsewhere. The goal here is to remove the perceived barriers and get everyone focused on the goals, mission and initiatives.
  7. Strong Silos – Watch out for team members who are not focused on the good of the team. They usually are only concerned with their department, their career aspirations and their egos.
  8. Passive-Aggressive Behaviors – Usually seen as procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate and repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks. It’s usually a team member with a strong personality who may try to sabotage organizational direction.
  9. Blindness to Customers – While having the best product or latest technology is still important, it does not, in and of itself, provide a sustainable competitive advantage. Make sure you are offering relevant products and that your employees are offering value-added service. Don’t be blind to the needs of your customers.
  10. Engrained “Old Culture” – Usually seen with managers who have been with a company for years and believe the old way is the only way. Put the emphasis on new management styles that could meet the new direction of the company, and recruit leaders who can grow the business in new markets.

Building high-performance teams in the workplace takes drive, determination and focused persistence, and these are just some of the behaviors to keep an eye out for.

No one can dispute the power that Power Teams deliver to an organization. When people come together and set aside their individual needs for the good of the whole, they get more done in less time and with less cost.

Deb Spicer is founder of Quantum Level Success Quantum Level Success, a 25-year senior-level executive and consultant, and author of the best-selling book Power Teams: The New Square Root Model That Changes Everything! Contact her at Deb@quantumlevelsuccess.com .
  • Gary Eaton

    This is a great list of “bad behaviors” to be aware of and recognize in order to enhance team effectiveness. If we do not contiue to challenge our way of thinking, and our teams way of operating, we run teh risk of becoming irrelevant in a rapidly changing, competitive business environment. Thanks for sharing this list.  

  • http://www.shaunmayfield.com/ Shaun Mayfield

    What is interesting is as you think about all teams, these issues are present at varying degrees. Developing an open conversation about these destructive barriers helps everyone identify the tactics to shut them down before they have a real and manipulative power. Of course having a strong facilitator is the key to managing these behaviors.

  • http://fightthegreytide.blogspot.com/ Grey Tide
    • Terrenalj

      The alphagroup.com did not steal the article because the original author ‘Deb’ was given the acknowledgement. However, it did not indicate the original source of the article. And also, Deb must have given the permission to reprint at their own website resource.

      • John Hollon

        The alphagroup.com, like so many on the Internet, thinks they can simply pick up an article and republish it whole without any acknowledgement, link, or permission — as they did with this one from TLNT.  

        I have reached out to the Alpha Group for an explanation, apology, or some sense of why they did this, and they have not even been courteous enough to give me a reply.

        This does not fall under the doctrine of “fair use,” where they use 100-200 words in a news context and give plenty of links (and credit) back to the original source and original article. No, this is wholesale misappropriation — theft — of content that is copyrighted.

  • Dr. Taunya

    This is a great article and I plan to use the 10 points in a training in a few weeks. So often we teach how to build teams but not the behaviors to look out for when making a culture change. Great article and thanks!