by Paul Casey

What Kills Teams

Be on the lookout for these team-killers, and make an action plan to deal with them corporately or with individuals behaving below the line of high standards at your workplace. Every problem can be traced back to a leadership problem; so, you have the power to either change your behavior (get better at a new skill) or insist that others live out your team’s values in order to stay on the team (through appropriate confrontation/correction/feedback). Here are the “deadlies” on a team:

  • Gossip (talking negatively about others behind their back; throwing them under the bus)
  • Criticism (an attack on someone’s character)
  • Backbiting (squabbling about issues in parking lots/hallways instead of constructively in meetings)
  • Disrespect (carrying an attitude of disdain toward others that leads to unpleasant behaviors)
  • Laziness (not pulling your weight on the team; making others hound you for deliverables)
  • Silos (operating independently instead of interdependently)
  • Lack of trust (assuming the worst of others’ behaviors by pinning bad motives on them)
  • Sweeping issues under the rug (not dealing with issues that are affecting the team negatively)
  • Power-plays (ganging up on people, using positional authority or forming a “mob” to put pressure on others)
  • Lack of follow-through (letting balls drop on initiatives that move the mission forward0
  • Arrogance (know-it-all pride that causes unapproachability and bullying/manipulative tendencies)
  • Not listening, nor seeking to understand (only caring about one’s own agenda instead of empathizing)
  • Joylessness (coming to work as a “downer” instead of creating one’s own happiness)
  • Lack of affirmation and recognition (no positive reinforcement nor gratitude for outstanding performance)

Do you witness any of these at your workplace? What can you add to my list? Let’s all make sure we are not playing out any of these behaviors first, in order to be change-agent influencers with our fellow workmates. Dialogue with me at


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