The Power of Team Derailers

Truth About TeamsBalancing psychological roles is an important step toward creating a high-performing team. It is equally important to understand team members’ derailers.

Under stress, people’s greatest strength can become their biggest weakness – the ambitious salesperson earns a reputation as a cutthroat competitor, the meticulous accountant turns to nitpicking or micromanaging. These tendencies are called derailers.

If too many members of a team share the same derailing tendencies, they can become team derailers. Team derailers fall into three categories:

  • Distancing derailers help individuals manage anxiety or pressure by maintaining distance from and pushing others away.
  • Agitating derailers are an offensive rather than defensive response to pressure. They help individuals manage situations by manipulating or controlling others.
  • Acquiescing derailers help individuals manage their anxiety and stress by building alliances with others.

These derailers can lead to shared blind spots, amplified reactions, or competitive responses, in which team members enter a sort of arms race by responding to each others’ derailed behavior in a manner that triggers more derailed behavior. However, by recognizing their shared characteristics, teams can work to mitigate their tendencies and correct problem behaviors.

To find out more about team derailers and how personality affects team performance, check out our free eBook, The Truth About Teams.