How One Bad Team Member Can Screw Up The Entire Team

Aug 17, 2017 1 Min Read

I recently came across my research notes used to prepare a training session for a client. The original topic focused on how teamwork can impact organisational safety. There is also a transition of the topic any organisation can put to use in the coming year. As you lead or seek to lead others in the coming years, pay attention to reality and truth. Don’t be led astray by misinformation or inaccurate reports of actions.

Awareness was the topic of my January column. This time I’m saying again, be aware of your leadership environment. Look for the good but never forget the activities that lurk in the shadows. They eat away at the effectiveness and success potential of the team.

One bad team member can screw up the entire team effort. Some of you have lived this nightmare. Keep abreast of this idea as you run your team. Be constant in your assessment of team members’ actions. You need to know if their actions help or hurt the team. Professional athletic teams trade or dismiss players that don’t contribute to team success. In business, every avenue should be pursued to re-mediate poor performance. When needed changes don’t occur, dismissal is inevitable. Team members cannot sabotage the team performance and stay in good standing.

Despaired leader

Don’t forget the activities that lurk in the shadows that may eat away at the success potential of the team.


Behaviour of some team members can provide an inaccurate image of the entire organisation. Team behaviour creates public opinions. When it is bad, the entire organisation pays the price. Leaders understand the power of behaviour on team performance. Their success depends on not letting bad behaviour create bad teams.

This might interest you: Great Teams Have Great Depth In These 6 Areas


Collaboration is a key component of effective teamwork. Such actions take advantage of the “power of many” and instils cooperation to get the job done. A lack of cooperation splinters the energy and stifles the level of possible successes.


Knowledge helps to make the team successful. But there is another step to take. Teams must take action on the knowledge available. By assessing the quality of knowledge present, an actionable plan is created to positively propel everyone. Teams lacking this step may be a smart group but will get little things done.


Morals, values and standards guide decisions. Leaders must assess how these are used to make decisions. The process starts by evaluating results from previous team members’ decisions. As a team, identify key morality, values and operational standards in play.

Are they working for the betterment of employees and the organisation as a whole? Are they an impediment to our progress and public image? Create sound morals, values blanketed with integrity. Use consistent standards that don’t create havoc in the workplace or discriminate employees.


Attitudes are the mirrors of the mind. They reflect our thinking. Attitudes are powerful and can help to create great things. Choosing an attitude means we must be willing to accept the consequences of that choice. In a team setting, attitudes can spread a mindset of hope or hopelessness. Effective leaders know this and strive to keep hope as their focus.


Success is a choice. Some are fortunate to have successful results fall into their lap in spite of their efforts. This is an anomaly, not the norm. If our choices dictate our successes, then we must choose to work towards success.

Outstanding teams have made the decision to reach greatness. They refuse to fail and will take actions that create a path leading to success. Let me close by encouraging a movement from success towards significance – the step past being successful.


Alignment with the corporate strategy (mission, values, visions, principles) that guides business decisions is critical and essential for long-term success. The more precise the alignment, the stronger the results. Sometimes, the work environment, inside and outside of the organisation, is like a tug-o-war. There may be forces seeking to misalign your focus. Focused leaders succeed by overcoming this misalignment. They understand failure can result from failure to adjust.

See also: 4 Teamwork Tips You Need To Know


Valuing employees is a necessary component of how the organisation should run. Team members appreciate being considerate important to the success of the team. Value translates to appreciation. Leaders don’t forget to recognise contributions. Furthermore, they give credit to team members making an important contribution to team success. They value team members helping to create a smooth operation.


Passion, belief and unwavering support are ingredients of the recipe for producing outstanding results. Passion drives. Beliefs empower. Unwavering support is the momentum builder. All three produce synergy for success.


Quality service is what consumers want. It’s also what employees want from their leaders. Take on the mantle of a “servant leader” in all you do. Service is the oil that removes friction in organisational environments. Service is king. Poor service is the path to the outhouse of failure.


Consistency is my favourite word to share with leaders. I believe inconsistency is one of the greatest enemies leaders must overcome. When we are clear on our values, vision and desired outcomes, our behaviour is consistent. Teams and/or organisations that have destructive values, visions and desired outcomes will fail. Leaders can ill afford the destruction brought about by inconsistencies.


Clear communication makes cooperation prosper. Team members need understanding of the direction you want them to go. When leaders send messages to their team members, they bear the responsibility to achieve understanding.

Seek feedback on directions to discover the level of clarity. Repeat and seek feedback until understanding takes place. Communication demands clarity to be successful. No team can function in a foggy environment.


Team members use P.R.I.D.E. Members of successful teams are Professional, Responsible, Useful Imaginative, Dependable and Enthusiastic about working with winners. Pride is usually viewed as bad. In this case, it’s a good thing!


Billy is a professional speaker and leadership strategist who works with corporate, education and associations leaders, their employees and members to improve performance. His book ‘Searching for Success’ is published internationally. To get in touch with him, email

Article first appeared in the American Business Journal.

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Billy has authored over 300 articles on management, leadership, school board service and personal development. He also provides solutions leaders need to advance people, raise productivity and increase profits.

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