Four Behaviors that Damage Teamwork

My husband shared a blog post with me the other day written by John Barrett. I was not familiar with this author, but will now check out more of his resources. I thought his post was powerful. He wrote about four traits that damage teamwork. I thought these were very important to consider and wanted to share them with you.



Ego is a natural repellant of teamwork.

Teamwork will fail when you concentrate on ME instead of WE. If a leader cares more about his/her needs, ideas, and reputation than those of others, the team will suffer. Team members want to work towards common vision and goals, and they want to share in the success. I’ve heard it said that great leaders take the blame for team mistakes and give away the credit for team achievments. Barrett wrote, “If a leader wants all the attention, they will never truly empower others to do great things. No one wants to be around – or work for – ego-driven leaders.”


Insecurity will stunt growth.

About insecurity Barrett says, a leader “will not rise above his/her level of insecurity. A leader will be limited by their fears and apprehensions. Insecure leaders are scared to give power away. They fear it will cause themselves to appear smaller than everyone else.” One of a leader’s primary roles is to develop others so that the leader basically works him/herself out of a job. A leader cannot focus on others’ growth if he/she is worried about others doing well and surpassing his/her abilities.


 Distrust will diminish results.

Patick Lencioni is a leadership guru. He has written many books about teamwork. He says that trust is the #1 foundational behavior necessary for cohesive and effective teams. Without trust, team members do not want to risk. They may not risk telling the less desirable truth about an issue. They may not share new innovative ideas. They may not speak up about “blind spots” the leader has that are affecting productivity and team relationship.


Control destroys ownership.

Leaders who want to always be in control will destroy teamwork. Barrett wisely writes, “People do not want to be controlled; they want to be led.” President Woodrow Wilson said, “We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.” When all decisions and permissions have to go through the leader, processes slow down and service and care suffer. When the leader steps in and micro-manages delegated responsibilites, team members feel devalued and lose motivation.

So what can a leader do to foster teamwork? The opposites of these team-damaging behaviors is a good place to start. A great team leader serves with humility, grows in healthy self-awareness, builds trust, and empowers others.

Which of these areas do you want to develop?

***Please check out the sessions on New Relationships tab of the Team Leader Training page for resources!

Photo by on Unsplash

Terry Morgan

Hi! I’m Terry, married to Steve and mother of four adult children. I have worked with Cru for almost 40 years, 20 of those years in Latin America. I am passionate about helping people find grace, hope, and growth by walking closely with Jesus. As part of that passion, I coach and train ministry leaders worldwide and create resources to help others grow. You will often find me in our patio garden, processing life with Jesus, with a cup of strong, black coffee in hand.

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