Monkey Puzzle Blog

toxic sign

Can you repair toxic teams?

Toxic team dynamics are behavioural or communication patterns which destroy a healthy workplace. Key signs of a toxic team are:

  • Lack of productivity and progress
  • Leaders draining time dealing with conflicts and relational issues in the team
  • Low morale
  • Passive aggressive behaviour like talking behind people’s backs, complaining, game playing and teasing
  • At it’s worse people in a toxic team can experience mental health issues like stress and depression because it’s not a nice place to work

sheepThink of a toxic team like it’s a dysfunctional family, everyone knows it doesn’t feel good but they are still compelled to ‘play’ their role. Toxic teams can creep up on Managers and Leaders slowly, often it will start with something minor then escalate.

If this is happening in your workplace, you need to act quickly. This will mean you can:

  • Prevent things spiralling out of control
  • Keep the team on track
  • Stop conflict ruining team relationships
  • Build healthy trust and rapport
  • Overcome performance problems
  • Get your team performing at its peak

Working in a toxic team can be very confusing for all involved; the Leader, the HR Professional and the members of the team. It’s important to take a step back and think about what triggered the toxicity, identify what the key factors are and then take steps to repair. Often the most ‘troublesome’ person gets removed from the team only to find more troublesome behaviour coming to the surface. That’s a sign that it is a toxic team issue.

You can tackle toxic team issues by:

  • Addressing behavioural issues quickly and effectively
  • Building a healthy workplace culture
  • Role modelling healthy behaviour
  • Teaching people assertiveness skills and to deal with conflict appropriately

There is more on different ways to deal with Toxic Team issues in our exciting monthly collaboration between Karen Meager, Eleanor Shakiba and John McLachlan in their Great Minds Think Differently series. It’s a subscription only monthly article sent direct to your inbox. You can sign up simply e mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the title Great Minds Think Differently. If you sign up you won’t receive anything else from us unless you ask for it.


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