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4 Poisons That Will Ruin Your Team — And The Antidotes That Work

The leaders on your team may be gifted and high-capacity people, but no amount of talent can prevent teamwork poison from taking its toll. I’ve been asked many times, “Would you really let someone go for a bad attitude?” My response is always the same, “Would you really pay someone for a bad attitude?!” Yes I would let them go. I’m not willing to pay anyone for a lousy attitude; I can get that for free!

There are “Four Poisons” that will ruin your team.

1. Excuse makers

2. Complaint givers

3. Negative thinkers

4. Entitlement believers

Notice that all four are attitudes, not skills. That’s a significant insight. It is also telling that I don’t need to write a paragraph about each one. I could, but you already know exactly what each one means and you can name people you know that fit in each category. The question is, will you allow that on your team?

How do you get the poison out?

Clearly establish your team culture

The only way your team knows what is unacceptable is if you tell them, and back up what you say. Don’t assume this is common knowledge. We are all human, and under pressure, we can quickly slide into an unhealthy attitude. It’s always best to emphasize and focus on the positive traits of a team, but on occasion, it’s essential to communicate what is unacceptable. Remember, it’s important that you never declare something unacceptable that you are not willing to take action upon.

Confront quickly

There is no need for public confrontation unless it’s a flagrant and repeated demonstration of a bad attitude. Take the person aside and engage them in a very clear and candid conversation. Let them know that a poor attitude will not be tolerated, and if it continues they will lose their spot on the team. Make sure the understanding is clear.