Toxic Teams

Toxic teams can bring down the whole office environment if you don’t stop them before it is to late. So, How teams become toxic in the first place? I think that there are about 11 things that if put together will create a toxic team they are

  1. Territoriality: We are territorial by nature. Thoughts like “Why are they intervening with my area?” or “That project belongs to marketing, not to development,” pop up easily.But we should cut such territoriality short. Cross-disciplinary input is priceless, exactly because it comes from an entirely novel angle.
  2. Control-anxiety We like to be in control of everything. In a small startup team, everyone has a wide area of responsibilities. As the team grows and a certain level of specialization kicks in, it can be painful to let go of some of that control.
  3. Two-Facedness: Always sucking up to the manager while treating those next to and below you like trash. and spreading yourself thin on projects but not actually contributing to any of them.  
  4.  making up and expertise: People make up an expertise when they feel threatened, fearing others might perceive them as inadequate. Or they’ve simply identified the behavior as a road to success. Having someone that pretends to know more than they do can wreak havoc on your organization. Especially when you’re dealing with a gifted liar, or when the rest of the team cannot properly assess the topic. How could two business majors judge the work of a developer? The developer could spin them endless jargon-stuffed stories of why the milestone wasn’t reached. Without any programming experience, they have no idea. How much better it is to have someone who happily admits what they doesn’t know about. This way, you can focus on gathering more information or defending against the unknown
  5. Twaddling is the tendency to keep on talking even though you’re not adding a lot of substance. Speaking about something that you have no idea what it is
  6. Needless authority: No matter how flat your organization, there’ll always be some level of hierarchy. And with hierarchy comes authority. But how that authority is carried around makes a big difference. The problem with strong authority is that it eats away at the sense of responsibility from those who aren’t at the top of the pyramid. Strong hierarchies justify differences – in responsibility, ownership, and input. In a healthy company culture, people respect the company structure, but only showcase authority when it’s needed.
  7. Fear of speaking out: There will always be things left unsaid, frictions below the hood. A positive company culture uncovers and resolves such frictions before they turn into an engine breakdown. A fear of speaking out is common in many workplaces. Often the suppressed topic is a critical thought that isn’t spoken out for fear of the consequences.
  8. Selfishness: We’re all selfish to a certain extent. But if that selfishness reaches a level at which it translates into unethical behavior, like nepotism or corporate-sociopathy, it hurts the company.
  9. Making colleagues lose faith: Honesty ≠ rudeness. Everyone has a fragile ego that needs to be taken into account. There’s a difference between sharing your honest opinion about someone’s performance and cracking down on that person.
  10. Parasites: The larger the team, the easier it is for people to get away with doing nothing and surfing on the team’s achievements. And worse, the more people are engaged in contributing nothing at all, the more likely for others to follow in social loafing. Parasites flourish in large bodies.
  11. Complacency:A good culture strikes a balance between urgency and psychological safety. Too few safety, and the team crumbles under stress. Too few urgency, and the team becomes complacent. When complacent, you’re not thinking about improving, about learning, about moving forward. There’s no need to question what you’re doing, to improve your work flows, or to expand your knowledge.

So now that we know what can make a toxic team how do we combat against it. I found this article that explains how to fix a toxic team well.