The Five Archetypes of a Destructive Team

Team building is hard work. Sometimes it appears impossible. Managing a group of individual egos can be devilishly frustrating.

And yet, if you don’t cultivate and lead an effective team, you’re in trouble (not to mentioned stressed out).

Five primary archetypes—patterns that are available to all of us—hinder the development of world-class organizations.

Watch out for these five archetypes within yourself and your team members:

The Narcissist thinks the world revolves around him. Egocentric to his core, he is more interested in his own ideas than those of others. Lacking humility, he assumes he’s always right. Valuing himself more than the rest of the team, he finds them to be a hindrance to his own work.

The Joker lacks accountability. You simply can’t trust that he is going to do what he says he’ll do. Without commitment and resolution to the task at hand, he’s irresponsible and creates constant uncertainty for the rest of the team.

The Politician has a hidden agenda. Guarded and afraid of conflict, the Politician will carefully craft his words to elicit a certain reaction while hiding his true thoughts and feelings. The Politician seeks personal gain instead of what’s best for the team.

The Misfit floats and flutters around the office. Aimless and carefree, the Misfit lacks a clear vision and possesses no higher standards of behavior. While benign in nature, the Misfit is a poor communicator and disrupts the team’s flow. (The Misfit generally works better alone.)

The Scoundrel is a deceptive archetype that destroys effective collaboration among team members. Lacking personal integrity, the Scoundrel is untrustworthy and dishonest, making effective teamwork impossible.

Before projecting these archetypes onto your team members, please take a good look within yourself. Remember, these archetypes represent patterns, not people. Each of us fall prey to them at one time or another.

Once you’re aware of these five destructive patterns, you can begin guarding against them—within yourself and with others.