Effective teamwork stands on four legs - all are necessary.

  • Tasks must be clearly defined.
  • Roles, abilities and resources must be appropriate for achieving desired results.
  • Good people must individually do their share and work together effectively to overcome style differences.
  • Codes of professional conduct must be set high enough and must be defended.

Bullies destroy the third and fourth legs.

To read the rest of this article from the Denver Business Journal, see:
Bullies destroy codes of professional conduct


While team leaders frequently violate standards by flagrant favoritism, nepotism and misuse of power, more frequently, I see teamwork breaking down when individual team members are allowed to continue violating team codes of professional conduct.

Caring and support do not mean catering to someone’s whims or to the most infantile or selfish behavior of any individual.  You can stretch yourself in order to help someone, but there is always a breaking point beyond which productivity suffers.  The most caring and supportive strategy is to inspire people and hold them accountable to live up to professional conduct and standards.

Whatever pious or soaring phrases are in mission statements and codes of conduct, the reality of organizational culture is clarified during an employee’s probationary period.  On-going, accurate and honest evaluation and feedback are necessary to defend that code.  Daily examples are needed in which a   new employee is held accountable for behavior and performance.  Managers must create precedents by documenting an employee’s willingness and ability to meet expectations.

Your work team is not a therapeutic environment and is usually not your family.  In a therapeutic environment or a family, maintenance of relationships may take precedence over tasks.  You may tolerate destructive behavior in order to maintain connection.

In your work team, however, tasks take precedence over relationship.  Camaraderie serves tasks; relationships may last 30 years or only until the task is done.

Senior managers, team leaders and individual team members each have 100% of the responsibility, authority and accountability for defending the code of conduct that protects them.  If this support to teamwork breaks, both relationships and productivity fall.

The best way to learn how to set high standards and retain your best people is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and organizational consulting.

Design and implement an anti-bullying plan that eliminates the high cost of low attitudes in your workplace.  To get the help you need, call Ben at 1-877-828-5543.