Dysfunctional Leadership Team BehaviorsIn my recent webinar Executive Team Building and Culture Development I outlined the common failure factors that contribute to the high rate (up to 70%) of failed organizational change efforts. Since a department, division, business unit, or entire organization’s culture ripples out from the leadership team leading it, how the team functions is a vital factor in determining organizational performance.

When leadership teams are less effective we’ve often found some degree and combination of these six dysfunctional team behaviors. Check those that apply to your leadership team:


  • Opposing views unsaid at meetings cause disagreements to go underground — This is symptomatic of inauthentic conversations not addressing the moose-on-the-table. So the focus often moves away from a healthy debate of the issues to unhealthy personal conflict.
  • Complaining, criticizing, and talking about each other behind member’s back — This unhealthy dynamic ripples out from the leadership team to create organizational silos, turf protecting, and us versus them.
  • Difficult feedback not given directly to that person — A culture of courageous conversations overcomes fear. Courageous conversations also require skill development in “elevating feedback.”
  • Healthy debates avoided because of disrespectful undertones and “humorous” pot-shots — A high Fun Factor and high Laughter Index help leadership teams create energizing environments. Cowardly humor that hides deeper messages is cancerous.
  • A few vocal executives hog airtime and dominate discussions — Too often teams are separated into a few members having a strong debate and a few spectators. Highly effective teams use processes and practices that actively engage everyone.
  • Lack of response or silence mistaken as agreement — Many of the above points reduce discussion and debate. The team leader then thinks he or she has consensus only to be frustrated later by lack of commitment and follow through.

Which dysfunctional behaviors are reducing your team’s effectiveness? If you’re the leader, how can you ensure your answer isn’t just your own opinion? If you’re a team member, how are you contributing to the problem? How will you be part of the solution?