We’ve all worked with people who just weren’t team players. What becomes obvious as the days and weeks pass is that even one person who exhibits toxic behaviors in the workplace can seriously impact the way a team functions.
Often the best course of action is to address and treat ineffective behaviors before they seriously damage the culture of your workplace and the morale of your team. And as with all problems, the first step is to recognize and diagnose what has become an issue. Here are some common toxic behaviors. Do you experience any of these when working with your team?
Lack of accountability. Often, problematic teams feel that one or more people are not contributing their fair share of the workload. This in turn leads to bitterness and resentment toward the person in question. If these problems aren’t addressed clearly, the employee may, in turn, feel that animosity but not understand why it’s being directed at her. While it’s often bad enough when a team member isn’t contributing fairly, team unity can suffer even more when the person shirking responsibility is in a leadership or management position.
Which, of course, brings us to distrust. If a team does not trust its leader to follow through on promises, advocate for them with higher management, or give them credit where it’s due, that team will suffer. Groups can only function effectively if each member considers one another competent and well-intentioned. If there is any doubt about the ability of a team member to perform his or her job (or act without sabotaging the work of another), those toxic aspects can definitely harm the team.
Distrust can also lead to a fear of speaking out. Toxic work environments often have dual conversations happening at any given time: the one that the leadership hears (mostly positive and deferential) and the one that happens in whispers or text messages in private. Coworkers may gossip or complain to each other about issues that they don’t feel were adequately addressed by management. This, in turn, creates an “us vs. them” mentality and dissuades team members from being vocal about their problems from the beginning. It also, in the long run, hampers productivity and institutional effectiveness.
If you feel that any of these behaviors are present in your work environment, consider our Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team program. We address common problems that teams experience and work from the inside out to effect positive change at all levels of the workplace.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.
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