I once worked with a colleague who always delighted in regaling us with the latest bad news or rumours about the company. Not a day went by without him venting anger at certain managers and predicting the company’s demise. Sales were down and creditors – like the Barbarians – were at the gates, was what he preached daily.
As a young lad just embarking on a new career and full of enthusiasm, I listened with an increasing sense of dread. I couldn’t think straight – or focus properly on my work. After a couple of weeks, one of the old-timers explained this guy got his kicks out of always finding fault and I should ignore him.  
There are many types of team disruptives who damage morale and productivity, affect a team’s performance or a project’s success. Here are some:

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

1. The Marginalised

These are the team members who feel left behind, perhaps because they are less confident and in the shadow of more assertive colleagues.

team communication

2. The Gossiper

Always seems to know the latest on who’s leaving, who was passed over for promotion, or who passed out at the office party. Not afraid to spread malicious gossip about the boss or company. A first cousin of the time waster, the gossiper believes work gets in the way of his main pursuit.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

3. The Time Waster

Happy to chat about any subject so work can be avoided. In the process this individual goes through the day doing as little as possible, and in the process infuriates others who can see what’s happening.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

4. Grumpy

Always has a chip on the shoulder, this employee is never happy and always sees the negative side. Not only annoying to work with, but also travels with a gray mood they inadvertently share with everyone else.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

5. Talker

Every team has at least one of these. A compulsive chatterer, they never know when to stop, and are not intimidated by the volume of work others have to do as they chat away. They also like to visit others at their desks to engage in even more idleness. They could talk about work all day, without ever doing it.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

6. Disaffected

Maybe someone who in the past was passed over for promotion. This employee is nursing a grievance for what might have been, and possibly can’t stand the team leader who may have taken the role he/she coveted. First to complain about everything – out of earshot of the boss, of course – and the last to volunteer for anything

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

7. The Know-It-All

Has an encyclopedic knowledge of the company’s problems and is vociferous in telling everyone who bothers to listen that he has all the answers. Also pontificates about the manager’s ‘defects’, and is certain to know exactly how well everything would run if he were in charge.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

8. The Absentee Worker

Plagued by imaginary ailments, usually late in the week or on a Monday. Constantly complains about various health issues as an excuse to avoid tasks. Workload has to be carried by others in team, triggering negative reaction by team members.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

9. Late Arrival, Early Leaver

Starts the day five or 10 minutes late and feels entitled to steal some more time when leaving. That’s 10-20 minutes a day, or 50 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes weekly. The team leader may not notice, but fellow team members know a work shy colleague when they see one. Again, if no action is taken, the offender becomes more brazen.

11 Disrupters of Team Productivity | Teamwork.com High-Performance blog

10. Unmotivated

They sit at their desks or at meetings never contributing ideas or suggestions. It’s not that they don’t have any ideas, just that they are disengaged from the team. They have opted out and do the minimum required to get through the working day.

Takeaway

While all teams may have one or more of the above members, it’s the team leader’s job to ensure they are swiftly brought into line. Allowing them to avoid work, or otherwise distract from a team’s performance will only spread discontent and hurt performance.