In “How, When, and Why Bad Apples Spoil the Barrel: Negative Group Members and Dysfunctional Groups,” the authors explain how bad apple behaviors are real and consume “inordinate amounts of time, psychological resources, and emotional energy.” If bad apples are bad for teams, they must also be bad for business.
“A single, toxic team member may be the catalyst for group-level dysfunction,” is one perspective noted in the paper. Another refers to “team destroyers.” Bad apples are described by three categories: withholding of effort, being affectively negative, and violating important interpersonal norms.
Caution: distinguish bad apples from people who simply have an opinion that deviates from the group.
The authors note several solutions: invest in selecting, placing, and training the right candidates for the team in the first place; train and empower groups to address destructive behaviors; provide team leaders with the structural authority to “intervene to motivate or expel a negative member;” and mobilize a response quickly before there is a vicious downward spiral.
What does this have to do with CSR and saving the world? If businesses use some of their corporate social responsibility funds to promote and support the engagement of their executives and professionals on nonprofit boards of directors in a purposeful and professional matching process, and also train them for boards, then companies will accomplish several benefits with this one investment:
- Provide experiential leadership development for their executives, many of whom might even rise further into board leadership roles.
- Make invaluable contributions to nonprofits in education, healthcare, the environment, the arts, etc., by providing talented people for boards and board leadership.
- Train and coach the next generation of leaders for boards, businesses, and the world.
It’s time to provide training and experiential learning for leaders to weed out bad apples, improve team experiences and productivity, and drive for success.