Some days ago, I wrote of “ 7 Characteristics of Bad Bosses”. What about their subordinates? Aren’t some of them ineffective too? In our day to day work, we come across all kinds of team members. Some are excellent to have in our team. Many may not be excellent but do contribute and are willing to learn and change. Some, I am afraid, are just ineffective. What are their characteristics?

I decided to list 7 characteristics of Ineffective Team Members:

  1. Don’t Pull Their Weight: They simply do not contribute enough. They do not live up to commitments. They do not do enough- adding to the workload of others in the team.
  2. Unwilling to Share: While quick to learn from others and find out all that’s going on, they are loath to share their knowledge and experience with others. They think learning and sharing is “one way traffic”.
  3. Not worthy of Trust: They share the wrong things. If you happen to share a confidence with them, they misuse that information. They do not keep a secret. They like to talk of the problems affecting others while keeping theirs to themselves.
  4. Pursue Personal Goals: While there is nothing wrong in pursuing personal goals- indeed all of us do that- this should not be at the cost of team goals. Ineffective team members are not on the same page as the team. They choose their own priorities and areas of interest- which do not necessarily fit in well with the team’s agenda and priorities.
  5. Blame & Excuses: Excuses for non-performance and blaming others is a common behaviour. Faults lie with others, the kind of work, the facilities, the client- well almost everyone other than themselves.
  6. Unduly Pessimistic & Negative: They are gloomy and pessimistic and do not keep this to themselves. Any idea is met with a cynical comment that it won’t work. Any move to be different is met with resistance without understanding what is involved.
  7. Lack of Sensitivity: Feelings and needs of other team members do not concern them. Yet, they expect their colleagues to be very careful about trampling upon their own feelings. As a result, ineffective team members have no sense of timing, bring up issues at the wrong times and exaggerate perceived insults when none are meant.

In my experience, these are typical characteristics of ineffective team members.

Feel free to share your views.
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This is the 86 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.