Watch Out For These Dysfunctional Roles in Teams


You will have heard of the roles that people play when they are in teams, and how those roles can be very beneficial to a team or can cause lots of problems. Members sometimes attempt to satisfy some individual needs that are irrelevant and often counter-productive to the tasks and roles of a team.

These anti-team roles tend to work against the accomplishment of the team’s tasks. Allowing team members to continue to play out thgese dysfunctional roles can take a team off the rails. To get the team baclk on track you may have to try excellent facilitation and quality coaching.  Some dysfunctional roles in teams  you may come across may include the following:

The Recognition-Seeker: They use various ways to call attention to themselves, through such things as boasting, reporting on personal achievements, acting in unusual ways, or volunteering for all tasks so that they get the privileges and the kudos.

The Dominator: They try to use authority or long-service as a manipulator of others to their own agendas. This normally takes the form of asserting higher status, giving direction or down-casting the contribution of others.

The Blocker: They tend to be negative and stubborn, unwilling to contribute to team efforts, disagreeing and opposing without or beyond reason.

The Aggressor: They work in ways to bring other team members down, deflating the motivation of others, expressing disapproval of the actions, values or feelings of others, attacking the team’s problem areas. They may joke in a negative or sarcastic way, or may attempt to take credit for others’ work.

The Avoider: They try to do the least they can get away with, not becoming involved in team progress, being quiet or doing other work during meetings, not volunteering for assignments, presentations or never accepting any leadership responsibililities.

The Joker: They make cynical or sarcastic remarks, adopt a nonchalant attitude and use an excessive amount of humour at inappropriate times. They rarely take things seriously, and want to be seen as the fun member of the team.

Some questions:

Which of these do you see in your team? What have you done to address the people concerned? What can you do to stop these kind of dysfunctions happening in ther future?

By determining that these dysfunctions will not happen in your team, you stop any problems that can happen before they become real issues for you and other team members.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by Renjith Krishnan of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Updated on: 27 December, 2012

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