I was trying to hide but you found me!

Everyone knows the saying “there is no I in team”, and everyone pretty much knows why this is.

What most probably don’t know is that there are also quite a number of types, apart from the “I” type, that really need to be excluded from any team if they want to become a group that works impressively well with each other.

The “types” I am talking about here are actually those which many even find to be the people that every team should have, until they finally reveal how much of a liability they really are, bringing problems and issues to the team rather than beneficial efforts.  Make no mistake, these people are not that easy to spot on the onset, and in most cases, they will always have a quality about them that will seemingly divert the attention of people from the particular reasons why they should be avoided, making them even more difficult to isolate.

In many cases, however, there is a real need to make sure they don’t stay in the team long enough to hinder every member’s progress, or cause enough damage to ruin the team’s chances of succeeding in whatever endeavor they are collectively undertaking.  The trick here, however, is in identifying these people, since there are also some team members who may have a few character quirks that may appear to be detrimental at first, but are not really the ones you should look out for.

Here are a few of the more damaging character types that should be weeded out of productive teams:

The “Worst Case Scenario” advocate

Being prepared for the worst is never a bad thing.  I an name a lot of businesses that were saved because they had ample contingency measures in place, since they were able to identify some of the worst things that could happen, and they were ready for it.  Having someone who is constantly yammering about the worst things that could happen, however, is something that is not quite as productive.  For one, these people, who do nothing but remind people of Murphy’s Law, have a great tendency to demoralize other team members, weaken the collective resolve of the team, and even erode at the much-needed confidence of everyone around them.  No one benefits from someone who seems to preach that doom that awaits each and everyone of us, so remove these from the team as soon as possible.

Raging Fanatics

There is also that member of the team who seems to think the leader, or even the entire team, could do no wrong.  This is the one who encourages everyone constantly, assuring them they can do anything, and everything, regardless of whatever they need to do.  While this type may actually seem to be exactly someone every team needs, this is not the case.  People like these make the entire team lose perspective, making them cultivate a sense of false confidence, leading to a severe underestimation of the task they are facing.  A lot of times all they ever do is recite a scripted litany of praises and encouragements, and really nothing else.  Confidence is good, but the entire team must also have a good perspective of the amount of difficulty a task may have, so that they may prepare for it accordingly.

The Intelligence “Expert”

Knowledge is definitely power, and knowing what the competition is doing, and how you can capitalize on it, is absolute power.  This is why there are members of the team that make it their business to know all that can be known about the competition, and in most times, about what goes on all around them.  The problem here is that most of the information to be had may not always be that which is useful or even related to the task at hand.  It is just so easy to blur the lines between actual information and plain gossip, and these supposed “intelligence experts” are often the first ones to confuse the two.  They then go on to spread whatever they know to the other members of the team, thus spreading the confusion, and causing even more problems.

The Opportunist

Opportunists are often gifted with the ability to see the most fortuitous events they could seize upon to affect a beneficial turn of events for themselves, or for the team they belong to.  If only this were the only things they were concerned with, then there would be no problems with them.  Sadly, most opportunists often fail to see that their efforts to look for and grab opportunities should be best used against the competition, and should not extend to within the team itself.  A major cause of problems within the team is when an opportunistic member decides that he or she would be the much better person to lead the team, or reap the most recognition, and makes every effort to let the other members of the team know it.  This will distract everyone, demoralize the team, and invite a good amount of enmity.

The Strangers

Every member of the team should know what his or her role is, and should very be able to do it without much supervision, or even prompting.  There are those, however, who do belong to a team, but don’t seem to have a solid grasp of what their role is.  You probably know their name, but almost immediately you have to ask them “what is it you do again?”  In many cases, the people aren’t known for their roles because they barely do it at all.  They are either confused about what their role is, or they simply don’t like to do what they are supposed to do.  The problem with these people is that they tend to gum up the completion time of the tasks because someone has to take time out just to tell them, or even guide them, as to what they are supposed to do.  Each team member is an essential part of the whole because they all have something to do, and if they do not know their part, and someone else has to teach them constantly how to do it, then the team is better off without them.

The Deadweights

These are probably the easiest to spot.  The do NOTHING.  They are there when everyone is having fun, eating, or socializing, but when the real work starts, they have the uncanny ability to be sick, to be preoccupied with something else, or just vanish altogether.  They will, however, miraculously re-appear when the recognition for the team comes up, since these people do want their time in the limelight.  Make no bones about it, there is one in every team, and the team would definitely be better off if there is no deadweight to add to the burden.

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