Recently we asked a group of consultants and HR professionals to describe their most dysfunctional team you have ever worked with… the answers were fascinating.

Not surprisingly, some identified their dysfunctional team as possessing very hostile aggressive behavioural norms – they described their experience in terms of: team members disrespecting each other, bullying each other to get their way, and undermining each other.

What they were describing was the archetypical ‘aggressive’ team, however, in the final count, more consultants described their most dysfunctional in terms of passive and hostile behavioural norms, using terms like: avoids sharing their ideas with each other, ignoring each other, and doing what they think everyone else wants.

The discussion that followed revealed a sense that whilst aggressive teams are hard work, they have energy and drive to make things happen, passive groups on the other hand are harder work, sucking energy from their fellow team members, and most interestingly, the consultant facilitating the group – have you been there?

Which team would you prefer to work with?

If you would like to also participate in our team and organisation culture research overseen by Professor Ken Locke, University of Idaho, please contact either Margherita ( or Quentin (


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