The Four Horsemen: Toxic Team Behaviors

I am in the UK this week and have been reminded by the local press that the U.S. does not have a corner on the market for unhealthy public discourse.  Gordon Brown refused to provide answers to MP’s as skillfully as anyone who has ever been the subject of a Congressional inquiry.  Skilled leaders understand that the way we communicate, especially about controversial and divisive topics is critical to finding solutions.

There is a way through the pain and suffering that teams go through when trying to debate something truly complex.  That way through is to steadfastly avoid what I have heard called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or the four toxic team behaviors:

  1. Criticism
  2. Contempt
  3. Defensiveness
  4. Stonewalling

What would your team be able to accomplish if all of the Four Horsemen were persona-non-grata at your organization?

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