Teams: only neurotics and character disordered should apply

One of the main dilemmas for team leaders and members is the thorny issue of responsibility. We often fixate on the problem of members (or leaders) not taking enough but Dr Scott Peck, renowned psychiatrist, reminds us they can also do damage if they try to take too much!


This really is a dilemma in the true sense of the word as it requires a very tricky balancing act.

The responsibility dilemma is beautifully described in Scott Peck's classic book The Road Less Travelled where Dr Peck describes two unhealthly extremes of the responsibility spectrum which he describes in clinical terms as "character disorders" and "neurotics".

I have tried to capture the essence of this difficult balancing act in the cartoon above.

Character disorders

This is the most common responsibility disorder and is defined as taking too little responsibility.

The mindset is "I have no power of choice" and everything is somebody else's problem or fault.

I am sure we all have been in teams where members have adopted this outlook.

Team members operating like this focus much more on compliance than commitment and may follow the process unthinkingly, even if it is not producing the required outcome, as a defensive measure against blame.

So be careful about 'over elaborating' team member responsibilities if you are worried about this kind of mindset - you can make it too easy to comply without committing.


Less common but equally damaging is taking too much responsibility.

The mindset here is "I am always falling short" and everything is my fault.

This is not only damaging to the individual but it also can nudge fellow team members towards the character disorder position on responsibility.

We do them no favours whatsoever when we take others' responsibilities and problems - we remove their opportunities for personal growth and learning.

Tags: , ,

Comments (0)| Related (3) |

Print this article


Bioteams Books Reviews

When collaboration goes bad

When collaboration goes bad

Poor organisational intelligence leads to 'coblaboration' instead of collaboration.Harvard Professor, David Perkins, in his latest book, "King Arthur's Round Table : How Collaborative Conversations Create Smart Organizations", discusses the importance of "organisational Intelligence" and "developmental leadership" and how the absence of these leads to coblaboration rather than collaboration in organisational teams.

Buy it now from:

(2) |

continue reading

Click here to check all Bioteams book reviews

Ken's LinkedIn Profile

Follow Ken's Blogs

NASA Widget2_160x40.jpg


Featured Categories

Trending Topics

agility analytics ants autopoiesis bees biomimicry bioteaming bioteams change management collaboration Collaboration collective intelligence community complex systems dashboards digital dashboards ecosystems excel experiential learning flock games high-performing teams HPT innovation leadership learning meetings mobile phones organizational teams penguins pheromones self-managed teams serious games simulators social media Social Networks social networks social software swarm swarm intelligence swarmteams teams teamwork The Networked Enterprise tit for tat VEN videos virtual communities virtual enterprise virtual enterprise networks virtual teams visualization web2.0 wisdom of crowds

Click for more...

Featured Article

Team joining hands

The secret DNA of high-performing virtual teams

Bioteaming – the secret to high-performing, self-organising, virtually networked teams... more

Locations of visitors to this page

Bioteams iphone app
Bioteams android app


Bioteams Lite


Latest Full Articles

Bioteams Assessor - Instantly check how good your team is?
BioScore Calculator – Instantly see if you need Bioteams
Discover Bioteams principles Yourself via Action Learning

Bioteams Manifesto

Communities and Networks Connection

Bioteams Ice-Breaker Zone

Only Fools and Horses Video Clip Funny Team Collaboration Video Dilbert Mission Statement Generator Ali G Video Funny Red Dwarf Video  FatherTed  Pixar

News Feed

Sign up for RSS   RSS Feed Subscription
        (What's RSS?)

10 Most popular posts

Recent posts


Download Browsealoud