One of the most difficult and destructive team personalities to deal with in an organization is one that I call the “Piranha.” Like the South American fish that eats other fish it perceives as a threat, this personality type sabotages team success by manipulating and coercing others for personal gain.
For example, a “piranha” type might send a subordinate to participate in a team meeting, but not allow their delegate to make any decisions. The result – no decisions get made. When this person finally does show up in a meeting, they contribute very little, even when specifically addressed, or are dismissive and caustic in responding to other members’ ideas and inputs.
When a person creates this type of internal conflict during a team meeting and it’s not addressed immediately, the project and sometimes the team can be left in shreds. A fast and easy solution to achieve team success would be to remove the person from the project. But what if that’s not possible? What if you, as team leader, have been instructed to “work with” this person because some believe they can add significant value to the team?
No matter how strong your team leadership skills, how charismatic your personality or how fluidly you negotiate, a “piranha” will require a lot of time and attention to manage. The key to managing this personality type successfully lies in finding a way to address them professionally and respectfully, while continuing to inspire the team, enabling them to succeed.
In my new book, POWER TEAMS: The New SQUARE ROOT MODELTM That Changes Everything!, I provide a series of SQUARE ROOT TOOLSTM and collaboration strategies that help you support and promote team development, while improving company productivity. For a sneak peek at POWER TEAMS, visit my Facebook page at www.fb.com/PowerTeamsDeb. You can download Chapter 8 for free, and learn how to bolster your team leadership skills so you can deal with the “piranha” type personality and achieve team success.