Almost daily, my email inbox fills up with pleas from people who work in teams that are dysfunctional mostly because of one team member. Aside from the fact that this is a symptom of weak leadership, it seems as though every team has a team member they love to hate. If you are that person (I hope not!), here is what you probably do.
1. Be a knowledge hoarder — Make sure you hold all of your knowledge close to the vest so everyone will have to come to you when they need something. If you absolutely must share some of what you know, don’t write it down! Give verbal instructions and make them vague. If another person’s tasks are dependent upon yours, hand it off at the last minute so they can’t figure out what you did. And under no circumstances should you ever answer emails or voice mails with questions about how you do something.
2. Take all the credit — When you and your teammates have completed a deliverable, make sure you are the first out of the gate to grab the limelight. Reach out to the highest level person in the company to ensure you get the pat on the back. Don’t bother to mention the rest of your team until all of the celebrating is out of the way. And by all means, don’t thank them for their help.
3. Stir up the team — Make the team as unproductive as possible by sharing rumors and stirring up conflict. Take sides whenever possible and hold up the team in reaching any consensus decisions. Do not participate in team discussions that will enable successful completion of deliverables.
Got a team member on your team you love to hate? Tell me what they do that bugs you by leaving a comment.