Six Star Characters of a Fractured Team

Let’s get real. How many times a week do you roll your eyes at your team and wonder, “How do they get anything done?” Usually it’s just one or two people who are bringing in the drama or dragging their feet. What kind of frustration is that causing?
Let’s talk.


Some of my fondest memories and deepest disappointments are about teamwork and the exciting accomplishments we’ve achieved. It’s really invigorating to be involved in a team that works well together and gets things done. It’s energizing to dream about the possibilities and imagine where we could go with an idea. I thrive on planning and strategizing our next move. Everyone would like to have a Danny Oceans 11 team!
Teams are made up of individuals! Those team members may have open or underlying problems or disputes. When those sensitive areas are rubbed the wrong way, negative reactions can turn teamwork upside down in a flash. Drama queens can misread comments and melt into tears or anger. Exaggerators can be called out as liars, the office comedian can turn into a cultural showboat and a top selling champion can get their ego bruised and turn into a rude and ruthless hit man!


Test Your Team’s Chemistry

In reality most teams are a mess! They are fractured by broken trust, individualism and lack of vision. Not just because they aren’t in the movies with actors and writers, but because they have issues and splinters that sabotage their best efforts and intentions.


Let me introduce you to a few Fractured Team Characters. You may recognize some on your team too! Do any of these people sound familiar to you?

Drama Queen Darla

Never ask Darla, “How are you doing?” She will take your “off the cuff” remark as an invitation to vent her emotions and satisfy your curious interest with dramatic details that may suck you into her foaming rapids of DRAMA! She is never short on tragedy and is always looking for a listening ear. Darla can derail a team meeting and redirect its productive energies around her swirling calamities. Don’t open that Pandora’s box!

Dishonest Dan

Dan continuously presents a false narrative. If his lips are moving – you’re NOT getting the full story. Most of the time his comments are just an exaggeration of the truth in one direction or another. But he has a reputation for outright dishonesty too! That takes a huge hit on his credit score. It especially does if his “stretching the truth” significantly affects the progress of the team or even the final outcome and rewards.
Sometimes, Dan is the person who speaks “optimistically” about what he is going to get done or hopes to accomplish. His intentions are well meant, but he erodes trust in the group when he can’t meet is own predictions and hopes. The backlash is loss of credibility! OUCH! It wasn’t his intention or abject dishonesty; he just couldn’t live up to his promises!

Soap Box Sam                    Talk to Scott about your team

Sam is a sanguine: enthusiastic, active and social. He is a comedian and a talker. And it’s ALL about HIM or his Soap Box. He always has something to say at the table and it doesn’t necessarily pertain to the point at hand. As a matter of fact, he is among the best to get the team off on a rabbit trail.
Unfortunately Sam rarely has any solutions. His poison is to identify all the problems, inconsistencies and wrong doings. And he is very good at it! Sam has a certification in pointing fingers and analyzing deficiencies as an armchair quarterback. But it’s always “somebody elses” job to fix the problem!

Missing Martha

Where is Martha? We have this meeting every third Monday and she is never here! What is up with her? Martha decided to do a site visit today… because she hasn’t done her homework for this committee! Yep… the dog ate her homework so Martha is absent!
What is the deal with Martha? Why is she so unreliable on attendance? She has been with us for nearly 20 years and has become infected with entitlement. She is on salary and doesn’t have to put in 40 hours; “Seriously, who does that anymore?” Attending her committee meetings or participating in her team roles is at the bottom of her list. Martha doesn’t have buy-in to her team and their projects. Why is she here? Because she was transferred over from another department having the same issues with keeping her engaged. HR is on to her now. Two more infractions and she will be escorted from the building.

Top Gun Tom               How do I turn my team around?

This guy is a winner! Tom is top salesman quarter after quarter. He can close deals and make sales. There is no telling how much revenue he has created for the company. But he knows it! While his team cannot deny his track record, neither can they deny his arrogance and rude behavior in the group!
NOBODY wants to work with Tom! He sees everything as a personal challenge. If he sniffs out any competition in a team meeting, he goes into “topping your story” mode. His insecurities are clear to everyone but him and his over compensation just makes the team roll their eyes. People get tired of patting him on the shoulder and stoking his ego.

Has Been Henrietta

Henrietta is all about the past. She cannot get her eyes off her rear-view mirror. It looks good back there. And as time goes by, the past looks better and better. Actually the facts from the past get a little distorted in her advantage too. Henrietta looks better and better in her version of those successes. “Five years ago at my old company, we snapped this thing together under budget and ahead of schedule!”
Could somebody please bring Henrietta into the present! Vernacular has changed. Technology has significantly advanced. Most of the software programs you are referring to are no longer supported. Storage in now on the Cloud; you will be given an access code.
Darla, Dan, Sam, Martha, Tom, Henrietta and all the other team members are sabotaging their Trust Credit Score with the team. And that score is hurting the confidence the rest of the team needs to be productive and successful.

Finally there is a way to repair broken or damaged trust in teams through conscious behaviors!


These characters help us understand the main Fractures of Teamwork. When teamwork is fractured and trust is broken, the flow of productivity crumbles, the atmosphere is tense and the return is marginal. Teams shut down. They quit performing. Members lose heart while others outright revolt.
But when trust is remarkable, the flow of productivity is quick, the atmosphere is vivacious and the return is extraordinary. Trust in individual member’s intentions, integrity, skills and getting the job done either fractures or encourages remarkable teamwork.
There is a path back to Remarkable Teamwork! And it’s worth effort! Teams that learn how to repair their broken trust are five times more effective and know how to navigate difficult situations! Let’s get that journey started!
Scott Carley
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