7 toxic team behaviors IT leaders must root out

When an IT team member begins behaving poorly, performance and productivity will likely suffer. Here’s how to detect and eradicate destructive attitudes before they take root.

Just as a happy and motivated IT team tends to be efficient, innovative, and highly productive, a toxic staff is destined to bicker, miss goals, and experience the sort of disruption that has nothing to do with positive transformation.

Toxic team behavior is an issue nearly all IT leaders will encounter at some point during their careers, most likely more than once and in various guises. Here’s a rundown of seven common types of toxic team behavior and how to root each out before serious, long-term damage results.


Rude behavior can instantly fracture a team, destroying collaboration, delaying projects, and threatening members’ sense of psychological safety, says Binyamin Cooper, a post-doctoral research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. “Rudeness includes behaviors such as belittling and demeaning comments, insults, eye-rolling, taking credit for someone’s work, or excluding someone from office camaraderie,” he notes.

Rudeness impacts individuals beyond the instigator’s direct targets, potentially contaminating an entire team or department. “Once rude behavior happens, it’s easy for negative thoughts to seep into people’s heads and stay there, translating into negative behavior,” Cooper says.

Individuals harboring an inclination for rude behavior can often be detected during the hiring process. “Interviewing job candidates using structured interviews for civil behavior may reveal an indication for a tendency to behave rudely,” Cooper suggests. “Additionally, prioritizing an organizational climate of civility and accountability and offering training on interpersonal communication, especially on stressful interactions, may be helpful in reducing the likelihood of these behaviors.”

Link: https://www.cio.com/article/188986/7-toxic-team-behaviors-it-leaders-must-root-out.html

Binyamin (Benny) Cooper
Binyamin (Benny) Cooper
Assistant Professor

My research explores how communicators and receivers navigate difficult conversations in the workplace.