The Complete List of Toxic Behaviors that Poison Teams
Toxic behaviors connected to communication:
- Assume silence is agreement.
- Overstate teammate’s opinions and question their motives.
- Sweep difficult topics under the carpet.
- Speak for others. Begin sentences with “you” – you always and you never.
- Polish terminology until the message is lost, obscure, and acceptable to everyone on the planet.
Toxic behaviors connected to lack of humility and disrespect:
- Tolerate drifters.
- Allow power-members to drone on and on.
- Share your feelings without regard for others.
- Make decisions in private meetings, before team meetings begin.
- Fight for everything you want.
- Don’t adapt, as a matter of principle.
- Start over when late-comers arrive.
- Interrupt each other.
- Use sarcasm to put people in their place.
- Refuse to admit you’re wrong and pretend you know more than you know.
Toxic behaviors connected to diversity and innovation:
- Don’t mix genders.
- Marginalize new members who don’t know that you’ve always done it that way.
- Invite the same people to the table, year after year.
- Explain why new ideas won’t work as soon as they are introduced.
Toxic behaviors connected to planning and execution:
- Get lost in the weeds.
- Don’t identify project-champions.
- Don’t talk about purpose and goals.
- Assume things won’t work and remind everyone when they didn’t.
- Solve every problem and address every imaginable contingency before you try something.
Toxic behaviors connected to meeting agendas:
- Don’t state the purpose for the meeting.
- Write long agendas.
- Deal with a few “quick” items before you address important topics. Don’t leave enough time for the big stuff.
- Discuss, but don’t decide.
Four top tips for making teams work:
- Identify the reason for the team’s existence.
- Connect everything you do to the reason for the team’s existence.
- Assign champions and establish deadlines for every project or initiative.
- Monitor energy. When you feel energy going up or down, ask, “What just happened?”
What toxic behaviors poison teams?
How might leaders do things that make teams work?